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Are schools violating age norms?

delhi Updated: Dec 23, 2010 23:18 IST
Harish V Nair
Harish V Nair
Hindustan Times
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Are parents admitting children below four years to nursery classes for the 2011-2012 academic year at their own risk? Will their admission be withdrawn after being found to have violated a 2007 Delhi High Court (HC) order?

The HC on Thursday sought a list of schools that plan to admit kids aged below four, as on March 31, 2011.

The court was hearing a contempt petition filed by Ashok Agarwal, founder of NGO Social Jurist against Delhi chief secretary Rakesh Mehta.

Asserting that it was wrong on the part of the Delhi government to remain silent on the age rule in its guidelines, Agarwal contended it has "deliberately and intentionally" disobeyed the directions of the HC, dated September 26, 2007, as per which, the minimum age for a child to enter a formal school in Delhi from the academic year 2008-2009, shall be four years on March 31 of the admission year.

He said the duration of pre-primary class shall be one year and the same should be the class immediately prior to Class I.

Justice G S Sistani sought the list of schools from the NGO, after Delhi government lawyer Zubeida Begum submitted before the court that there was no violation of rules.

Agarwal told the court that "the government... is still permitting all unaided private schools to continue the unjust, illegal and cruel practice of running two years of pre-primary classes and admitting children of three plus years age, instead of one year of pre-primary class and admitting children aged four plus years".

He told HT, "Parents admitting their children below four years will be doing it at their own risk.”

The Delhi HC had banned interviews, framed guidelines for nursery admission and fixed the age rule for the first time in response to a public interest litigation filed by Social Jurist in 2007.