NEP Age Criteria: A policy decision needed

SED should immediately come up with policy guidelines on foundational-stage age criteria for kids under NEP-2020
Representational Image
Representational Image File/GK

The private schools in Kashmir are facing a peculiar problem these days; how to deal with the age limit regarding 5-year Foundational Stage (Nursery+LKG+UKG+1+2). This in turn is bound to create confusion among parents of the kids who are already enrolled in these schools.

To explain the problem take the case of a private school in Srinagar, that has dropped the message to the parents to follow this chart. That would mean, no child below the recommended age limit can be promoted to the next grade.  In absence of guidelines from the Directorate of  School Education, Kashmir, both the schools and the parent are faced with a problem that can waste a year of likely-affected students.

Many parents of  two premier schools in the Srinagar city  were shocked to see the chart in their WhatsApp groups. “We want Director School Education to come clear on this issue. If our children were admitted before the NEP was implemented, how can they be treated under NEP which is implemented a year later,” said one parent.

She said when their child was admitted to the school last year, the school management was following Nursery+KG+1st pattern. “My child should be governed by the same pattern rather than the Nursery+LKG+UKG+1+2 pattern,” the parent, who wished anonymity, said.

Many parents said the new pattern is a change in policy for which the necessary guidelines and orders should come from the government, rather than from a school management.

“This is a major shift in policy if it is to be implemented. Why is the Administrative Department of School Education silent on this serious issue? It cannot leave a school to struggle with such an issue; and finally this is psychologically disturbing for parents,” they said.

In such a situation parents want the concerned government to take a clear decision, and implement the NEP 2020 recommendation in a way that should not waste a year of those students who are already admitted to schools.

Notably, the school in question has cited NEP-2020 guidelines and RTE 2009 for this new Age Criteria, but according to the aggrieved parents, these guidelines cannot be decided by one school only on its own without any policy guidelines and orders from the School Education Department.

After all, if a student misses the age limit of 6 by a week or month, he shouldn't be asked to stay back in the same class. The schools should be furnished with the much needed guidelines in this matter so that the parents are saved from any psychological torture. 

“We tried to contact the Principal of the School on phone but there was no response from the other end. We heard that teachers in the school are asked to convince those parents whose kids were admitted in the preceding years to follow new pattern,” said a group of parents.

The parents said that the Government of Jammu and Kashmir should come clear on the issue so that the chaos and confusion ends once for all.

“First, the Government should formally notify implementation date of National Education Policy-2020 which will become a basis for implementation of the Age Criteria under NEP-2020,” they said, adding that the Government should issue clear directions to schools that prior to the notification date for implementation of NEP-2020, no parent shall be asked to follow the New Age Criteria of NEP-2020.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in this article are the personal opinions of the author.

The facts, analysis, assumptions and perspective appearing in the article do not reflect the views of GK.

Related Stories

No stories found.
Greater Kashmir