shot-button
Subscription Subscription
Home > Mumbai > Mumbai News > Article > Mumbai Chaos looms in schools over age norms for Std I

Mumbai: Chaos looms in schools over age norms for Std I

Updated on: 28 February,2024 07:01 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Dipti Singh | dipti.singh@mid-day.com

As the Union govt pushes for age compliance for entry into Std I, schools fear disruption of pre-primary sections

Mumbai: Chaos looms in schools over age norms for Std I

The Ministry of Education has reminded states that the Std I admission age should be six-plus years. Representation Pic

Key Highlights

  1. Union government’s recent directive to states and UTs, has reignited a longstanding debate
  2. School managements argue that the combination of the Union ministry’s mandate
  3. Many students may have to repeat classes which could prompt the parents to agitate

The Union government’s recent directive to states and Union Territories (UTs), stipulating a minimum age requirement of six plus years for children seeking admission to Std I starting from the 2024-25 academic session, has reignited a longstanding debate. With the proposed rule slated for implementation in the 2024-25 academic year, school managements argue that the combination of the Union ministry’s mandate and the state government’s failure to update regulations will disrupt the pre-primary sections of schools.


Many schools in the city say if implemented this academic year, many students may have to repeat classes which could prompt the parents to agitate. This is because Maharashtra remains among the few states that have not altered the entry age in school (for pre-primary), allowing many children to enter Std I at the age of 5 or 5.2 years.


Foundation years


The Ministry of Education, in its latest notice on February 15, 2024, reminded all states that Std I admission age should be six-plus years, aligning with the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 and Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act, 2009.

Also Read: Mumbai: School bus operators resist state govt’s 9 am class start time decision

In its latest notification dated February 15, 2024, the Union Ministry of Education reiterated to all states and UTs that the age of admission to Std I should be six-plus years, aligning with the provisions outlined in the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 and the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act, 2009.

NEP 2020 states a foundational stage of 5 years for ages 3-8, including 3 years of preschool followed by Classes 1-2. In Maharashtra, nursery admission requires a child to be 3 by December 31, leading to some starting at 2.5. This contrasts with NEP’s recommendation of a minimum age of six for Std I entry.

ECA’s recommendations

The Early Childhood Association (ECA) has been complaining about the disparity in age criterion in school admissions in Maharashtra for years now. Swati Popat Vats, President of ECA said, “The age of entry to Std I across all states and UTs in India is six years at the beginning of the academic year. To ensure this, states and UTs must ensure the age of nursery children is three years at the beginning of the academic year.”

“We have been bringing this to the attention of the respective departments in the government and have written to the Governor of Maharashtra about it too. However, the state government is yet to take a call on this serious matter,” she added. Following the union ministry’s notification, the association is now considering writing to the president of India. “Age is not only a number, age implies developmental readiness and when children below three years are starting nursery it impacts them socially and emotionally which can have a lasting impact on their foundation of learning,” Vats explained.

Schools fear chaos

Schools demand that the state government should seek some relaxation in the norm as implementing it from 2024-25 would be chaotic for all schools, students and parents. “The back-and-forth on school entry age has been ongoing since 2014-15. Initially, the state mandated a nursery entry age of three years and class 1 entry at six years, aligning with the RTE act. However, subsequent changes led to a six-month relaxation, implementing a December 31 cutoff for admissions. Despite appeals for correction, the authorities remained unresponsive. Frustrated, the school considered legal action against the government, but with subsequent changes, the uncertainty continues. The current dilemma is how to implement the Centre’s notification for the upcoming academic year, foreseeing potential chaos,” said a principal in South Mumbai.

Highlighting potential school chaos, Rohan Bhatt, chairman of the Children’s Academy Group of Schools, expressed concern: “Starting from this academic year could lead to KG I and 2 students repeating. Ideally, the entry age change should begin from Nursery in the next academic year. Implementing the centre’s notification from 2026-27 would avoid issues, but doing so earlier may force Sr KG students under six to repeat, causing parent agitation and a 30-40 percent reduction in students reaching class I, forcing schools to cut divisions.”

Suraj Mandhare, state commissioner of education, said, “I have seen the issue being discussed on social media, but, I haven’t seen the Union ministry’s letter yet. Once I see it, we will see what can be done.” Officials from the education department at Goa have decided to write to the Union ministry of education and literacy seeking some relaxation to the rule this year. Goa, too, is one of the states which is yet to follow the six-year-plus age criteria for admission to Std I.

"Exciting news! Mid-day is now on WhatsApp Channels Subscribe today by clicking the link and stay updated with the latest news!" Click here!

Register for FREE
to continue reading !

This is not a paywall.
However, your registration helps us understand your preferences better and enables us to provide insightful and credible journalism for all our readers.

Mid-Day Web Stories

Mid-Day Web Stories

This website uses cookie or similar technologies, to enhance your browsing experience and provide personalised recommendations. By continuing to use our website, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Cookie Policy. OK