The age conundrum | delhi | Hindustan Times
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The age conundrum

On February 15, when Kapil Sibal, Union Human Resource Development minister proposed increasing the age for nursery admissions from 3 years to 4 years, for students in the Capital, teachers and parents welcomed the move, saying it will reduce stress on kids.

delhi Updated: Feb 22, 2010 00:57 IST
Joyeeta Ghosh

On February 15, when Kapil Sibal, Union Human Resource Development minister proposed increasing the age for nursery admissions from 3 years to 4 years, for students in the Capital, teachers and parents welcomed the move, saying it will reduce stress on kids.

But the initial euphoria has given way to speculation that increase in age for nursery admissions might leave students in the Capital on the backfoot vis-a-vis their peers from other states.

“If the admission age is increased for students in Delhi, then there is a need to change the whole age-group pattern for national level competitive examinations as well,” wrote Maharam Tanwar on admissionsnursery.com, a forum for nursery-admission related issues. If a child gets admitted to nursery at 4 years and class 1 at 6 years, he will complete college at the age of 21.

Students from other states will, however, finish college at 20. This will give students from other states an edge in competitive exams where candidates have limited attempts.

Poulomi Bhattacharya, another parent, has worries of a different nature, “My son will be 3 years 11 months old when the nursery admission takes place in 2011. If the age is increased to 4 years, then he would lose out and have to apply next year when he would be just a month less than 5 years.”

Child psychologists, however, feel that it is a great idea to increase the age of admissions.

“A three-year-old is not ready to recognise letters and numbers. Kids should concentrate on pre-academic skills,” said Shelja Sen, a child psychologist with Children and Adolescent Mental Health Services.

In Scandinavian countries, children start formal schooling at the age of 7, while in Britain they start schooling at 4 years.

Research show that by the age of 11, Scandinavian children are academically superior to British children, said Sen.

“The fears of parents about their child losing out on a year are unfounded,” she added.