Government sets age limit for entry level admission in schools

Mumbai: At a time when schools are desperately waiting for the state education department to shed some light on the age criteria for entry level admissions, two government resolutions (GRs) released on Wednesday have finally cleared the air.

While previously, the age limit for admissions to class I was set at six years and above, the government has now clearly stated that children above the age of five years too will be eligible for admissions to class I. Similarly, the age limit for playgroup has been set at three years.

RTE admissions
File pic for representation

“There has been much confusion surrounding the age limit for entry level admissions and schools as well as parents were unsure about the same because different schools were stating different age limits. This GR should clear the air and once the admissions schedule is released, schools can start their admissions process,” said a senior official from the education department.

He added that schools will have to follow the admission schedule for RTE 25 percent quota admissions while the rest of the seats they can fill according to their own schedule.
The education department had announced in December 2014 that no schools will conduct admissions without the state’s approval, and follow only a schedule released by the state education department.

In January, however, state education minister Vinod Tawde announced in a press meet in Pune that the state will only release a schedule for RTE 25 percent quota admissions, and schools can conduct the remaining 75 percent seats admissions according to their own schedule. The reasons stated was that different education boards have different academic cycles, so a uniform admissions schedule will not help.

Activists, however, were not happy with this update. Many pointed at how schools will use this to their advantage and leave very few seats for RTE admissions.

“Last year when the admissions for RTE seats were delayed and conducted only in the month of April, by the end of the process hundreds of students were left without seats in a school, despite being allotted seats through the online RTE process. We don’t want a repeat of the same problem so request government to conduct RTE admissions before the general admissions,” said Sudhir Paranjape from Anudanit Shiksha Bachao Samiti (ASBS).

Most schools, however, have not yet started the admissions process, so to avoid any altercation with the government later on.

When mid-day contacted state education commissioner S Chockalingam, he stated that the department was anxiously waiting for these two GRs to be released.

“We haven’t yet released the RTE admissions schedule as we were waiting for the government to release the final criterion for age limit at entry level admissions. Now that this bit has been cleared, we will release the schedule immediately,” he said.

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