Maharashtra’s school education department is modifying its uniform age criteria for nursery, kindergarten (KG) and Class 1 admissions to the upcoming academic year, 2017-18. The cut-off date to reach the minimum age — which ranges from above three to five years, depending on the class — will be raised to September 30, 2017 from July 31, 2017, said education officials. The changes were suggested by educators and parents.
Under the new rules, a child will have to be above three years for nursery, above four years for junior KG, and five-years-and-four-months for Class 1 by September 30 of that academic year. This will be applicable for all schools — irrespective of their managements or education boards.
This means that schools will be able to take in more students than earlier. “We had lost out on some children because the earlier cut-off was July 31. We will call them back for admission as soon as the rules are introduced,” said Savita Venkat, principal, Bombay Cambridge Schools, SSC and CIE, Andheri.
Maharashtra has been following a uniform minimum age limit for school admissions from 2016-17. The idea is to ensure that schools admit only children who are six years and above by the academic year, 2019-20. The age-limit was set in a government resolution (GR) dated January 21, 2015, which mentioned that July 3, will be the cut-off to meet the required age.
The new rules are expected to release in the next two to three days, said officials. But some schools were apprised of the changes in a meeting on Friday, as the latest January, 10, 2017, GR — on revamping the admission process to fill the 25% reserved seats under the Right to Education (RTE) act — states that September 10 should be considered as the cut-off.
Since the January 10 GR is limited to RTE admissions, the department must change the January 21 GR to extend the new date to all other admissions.Officials confirmed the process for doing this has already begun. “We have submitted the file to modify the date mentioned in the GR to September 30 from July 31 for approval,” said Nanda Kumar, principal secretary. The GR will be approved by education minister Vinod Tawde.
Happy with the new rules, most schools said accommodating more children won’t be a problem. “We keep a buffer of 20% for last-minute admissions,” said Father Francis Swamy, principal, St Mary’s School (ICSE) Mazgaon and joint-secretary of the Archdiocesan Board of Education, which runs 150-odd schools in Mumbai.
Some schools such as Bombay Scottish School, Powai, are yet to begin admissions and so will be able to alter their criteria easily. “Luckily for us, our admission process starts in February. So by that time the new GR will be released, making things clearer,” said Sunita Geoge, principal of the school.
What is uniform age-limit?
Since last year, all Maharashtra schools have to follow a common minimum age-limit for admissions to nursery, KG and Class 1. The goal is to ensure that students are not enrolled in schools before they are three years old.
What is the new rule?
Children should meet the required minimum age by September 30. Earlier this cut-off was July 31.
How it will be implemented:
Phase-wise Implementation for Class 1:
From 2016-17- Five years-----31 July, 2011 (OLD CUT-OFF DATE)
From 2017-18- Five years and four months ----September 30, 2017 (new cut-off date)
From 2018-19-Five years and eight months ----September 30, 2018
From 2019-20-Six years and above----------------September 30, 2019
How the new rule came about:
The suggestion to change the cut-off date came up in the feedback gathered from experts and parents to improve the RTE admissions.
Why the change was required:
Experts said that since U-DISE (Unified District Information System of Education) is counted on September 30, the students have to be of the required age by then. Otherwise, schools will have problems in getting grants and RTE reimbursements from the government.