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Schools awarding extra points for older child

Keeping with their belief that three is too young an age to begin school, a few private institutions have culled a points system that gives preference to older children, reports Ritika Chopra.

delhi Updated: Dec 12, 2008 00:09 IST
Ritika Chopra

Is a child really ready to join school at the age of three? Yes, if you go by the government directive and no, if teachers and principals of reputed schools across the city are to be believed.

Keeping with their belief that three is too young an age to begin school, a few private institutions have culled a points system that gives preference to older children. Consequently, three year olds applying here are at a disadvantage. Parents, obviously, are not too happy.

The Shri Ram School in Vasant Vihar has set aside 10 points for children aged between three-and-a-half and four years and 15 points for four to four-and-half year olds.

Similarly, Sanskriti School, Chanakyapuri, is giving preference to children born between January 1, 2005 and March 31, 2005 by assigning five points to them.

Though DPS International, Saket, and Mount Carmel School are not awarding extra points, they are taking children who are at least three-and-a-half years old by March 31, 2009.

Krishna Kumar’s (name changed) three-and-a-half year old son stands to gain 10 points as a candidate for The Shri Ram School. He, however, feels such veiled discrimination is unacceptable.

“How can a three year old, who is eligible for admission, compete with a child who has scored 15 points for meeting the school’s age criteria?” he asked.

“Though I understand the concerns of the parents, teachers at Shri Ram, who have conducted admissions last year, know for a fact that at three a child is too young to grasp what is taught in nursery. If the government is not going to correct the anomaly, then we have no option but to find ways to correct it ourselves,” said Manju Bharat Ram, chairperson, SRF Foundation that runs The Shri Ram Schools.

Annie Koshy, Prinicpal, St. Mary’s, agreed.

“The age criteria prescribed by the Ganguly Committee is flawed as the Constitution entitles a child free and compulsory education between the ages of six and 14. But the formal education of a child, as per the committee, begins when he/she is five years in Class I. This is strange and so we are following the old age criteria for KG admission,” she said.

At St. Mary’s School children who will be five years by September 2009 are eligible for admission to pre-primary or KG.