Parents in a fix as schools refuse to admit children who don’t meet new age criteria to kindergarten and standard-I

Never in their wildest dreams would have parents imagined that their over-enthusiasm in initiating their toddlers into the world of letters would boomerang. Take the case of Ridhi Shah (name changed), mother of a triplet. She had admitted her kids – one daughter and two sons – in nursery before they turned three. “They won’t be four by July 31, 2016 and hence won’t be eligible for kindergarten admission. But I can’t afford to put my triplet in nursery again as the fees have gone up. I now have no option but to keep them home for a year providing some tuition.”<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Shah’s is not the only case. Many parents like her, after putting their children in nurseries well before they attained the age of three, are now in a fix with schools turning them away. Schools are citing the new rules that make it mandatory that only those who have turned four could be admitted to kindergarten and those turned six could be admitted to standard-I. Charu Trivedi from Ghatkopar said, “I am trying admission for my kid in Jr.KG, but the schools are asking me to come next year.” There has been an increasing tendency among parents to put their children in nurseries at age as low as two. It was to curb this practice, that the state government, in January, issued a circular imposing the age criteria. According to experts, only by the time a child turns six will his/her brain develop enough to be adaptable to standard 1 curriculum. This was well the rationale behind the government’s decision too. Fr. Francis Swamy, principal of St. Mary’s ICSE School, Mazgaon, said, “If the child is younger than the stipulated age criteria fixed by the government, then nobody can help that child, not even the education department.” Swati Popat Vats, president of Podar Education Network and Early Childhood Association, said, “I support the government logic. We have already communicated to all the pre-schools to implement it strictly. The government should now create awareness among the parents so that they don’t hurry to get their kids admitted in nurseries and schools at very young age.” According to the government resolution, the age criteria as on July 31, 2016, should be 3 years and above for nursery admission, and 4 years and above for Jr.KG. Accordingly, the child when he/she reaches standard-I will be 6 years or above. This year in January, when the government issued the resolution, the schools had already started admissions. Hence the GR was postponed for implementation in 2016-2017.

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