The nursery admission row is back in the courts.
The Delhi High Court on Wednesday sought the Delhi government’s stand on a plea for stopping various private schools from admitting children below four years of age in their pre-primary (nursery) classes.
Acting Chief Justice AK Sikri and justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw issued a notice to the Directorate of Education and the Committee on Unaided Schools and sought their replies by November 23.
“Despite the court’s orders and directions issued by education department, private schools gave admission to three-year-old children.”
Lawyer Ashok Agarwal, appearing for NGO Social Jurist, accused the government of not enforcing the court’s September 2007 order, which had asked it to implement Ashok Ganguly Committee’s recommendations.
The Ganguly Committee had fixed four years as the minimum age for admission in pre-primary classes.
“This helped children prepare for admission to Class 1 in primary schools after the age of five years and without undergoing more than a year of schooling at pre-primary stage,” Agarwal said.
Seeking directions to all unaided private schools to follow a uniform age criteria of four plus to admit students in nursery classes, the petition said it was a must to meet the statutory stipulation under Section 16 of Delhi School Education Act, 1973 that no child below five years in age should be admitted to Class 1 of a recognised school.
Teachers agree with Ganguly committee
When asked to comment, most principals and education experts said that three years was too early an age to send a child to school.
Last year, in fact, many had raised their voice against the admission criteria that declared the minimum permissible admission age to be three years.
“This is a persistent problem. Some three-year-olds are not even toilet-trained. Nursery is the beginning of formal schooling but it becomes a part of early childhood schooling when children so young are enrolled,” said Ameeta M Wattal, principal, Springdales School, Pusa Road
While last year, the age for admission was three years, the year before that it was set at four years.
“The government needs to be clear about the implementation of the suggestions of the Ashok Ganguly Committee. Ideally there should be just one year of pre-primary education, the age of admission to which should be four years,” said Sumit Vohra, who runs admissionsnursery.com, a website on nursery admissions in the NCR.
“We have said repeatedly that three years is too young,” he added.