THE GUJARAT education department has raised the age limit for admission to Class 1 from the current five years to six years from the academic year 2023-24 in state board schools for parity with other education boards.
In a circular, issued Wednesday by the director of primary education’s office, all district primary education officers, district education committees, district education officers, and administrative officers of all municipal corporations have been directed to spread awareness among playgroups to rule out any ‘conflict situation’ among parents and these offices.
In 2012, the state government, under the Right to Education (RTE) Act rules, had allowed five years as the entry-level age for admission to class 1 in schools under the Gujarat Secondary and Higher Secondary Education Board (GSHSEB). It was also extended to admissions in private schools under the Act’s 25 per cent reservation rule. But due to the difference in entry-level age, children would often be denied admission to private schools affiliated to the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) and a few other education boards where the age limit is fixed at six years.
Director Primary Education M I Joshi told The Indian Express, “From 2023-24 onwards, it would be compulsory for a child to have completed six years of age, as on June 1, to get admission to Class 1. The previous five-year age rule has been changed to six years for which every parent and school should be informed well in advance.”
The circular issued by the director of primary education’s office states the revised rule should be communicated to all schools under respective offices and parents who want to admit their child in pre-primary classes. “Schools should be directed to admit children accordingly in playgroup, nursery, junior KG and senior KG in a way that the child when completes pre-primary, reaches class 1 and applies for admission in the academic session 2023-24, should complete six years of age as on June 1,” the order added.
The state government has also issued a notification stating that no elementary school shall admit a child in class 1 who has not completed six years of age as on June 1 of the academic year, provided that for the academic years 2020-21, 2021-22 and 2022-23, a child shall be eligible for admission who has completed five years of age as on June 1 of the respective academic year.
Manan Choksi, president of the Association of Progressive Schools (AOPS), said every year the age-limit disparity between state board schools and other education boards would result in a lot of conflict among parents and the education department. “The six years age criterion is as per the Constitution and the Right to Education Act, but the state government was following its own rule. We had also brought this to the notice of the government as well as appealed to the Gujarat High Court that if the Constitution provides education from six to 14 years then why is the Gujarat government giving five-year-old children admission under the RTE Act,” Choksi said.
In the 2021-22 academic year, the state government has allowed children who have completed five years on June 1 eligible for admission to class 1 under the 25 per cent reservation under the RTE Act.
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