Thanks to the new age criteria introduced by the state school education department, the number of students in pre-primary class for the academic year 2016-17 is likely to drop by 25% compared to last year, said city schools.
Under the new rules, children have to be six years old and above when they get admitted to Class 1 in 2019.
To fulfill this condition, schools will have to admit only children who have completed three years by July 31 to nursery and four-and-a-half years to the senior kindergarten.
According to schools, finding sufficient number of students meeting the condition is proving to be a task.
While some of them have already taken admission last year, some are not meeting the cut-off date. Although the exact number of admissions is not available as the process still on, several schools said they have seen a drop in the number of admissions compared to previous years.
The admissions for siblings of current students and children of ex-students at Children’s Academy, Malad, that concluded recently, for instance, have come down to 70 students from 100 students last year.
The admissions for open category are yet to close, but the number of applications has dropped. “Every year, we get 400 applications by this time.
This year, we got only 250 applications,” said Rohan Bhat of Children’s Academy, Kandivli and Malad Bhat.
“We admitted students who meet the required criterion last year. This year the cut-off is July, so we are losing out on admissions. The drop is around 25%,” said Bhat.
Swami Vivekananda International Group of Schools, Kandivli and Gorai, said they have kept admissions on hold for now as they are not getting enough students who met the criteria. “The number of eligible applicants is low, so we have decided to wait till we get clarity from the education department on the age limit,” said Yogesh Patel, director of the schools.
Alexandra Girls’ School, Fort, too, has witnessed a drop in applications.
“Till last year, our age limit was 2.5 years. This year, we have raised it to three years. We are telling parents to enrol them to playschools for now and apply again next year,” said Freny Mehta, principal of the school.
The cut-off date has added to the confusion, said school authorities. Most schools are following the dates mentioned in the government resolution, while a few schools said the department asked them to follow some other date.
“The education department told us the cut-off should be the day the school reopens, which is June 15, so we sticking to it,” said Mehta.
“Some smaller schools in our neighbourhood are not going by the age-limit rule. The students we turn down are taking admissions in those schools,” said Bhat.
Some schools, however, maintained the response is not very poor.
“Even though we are losing out on six months, we have received a great response from parents,” said Zeenat Bhojabhoy, principal, Jamnabai Narsee School, Juhu.