National Education Policy 2020 is being implemented in various parts of the country. The BJP-ruled states are highly enthusiastic about the adaption of the new education policy. The central government is hell-bent upon the statement like one nation one identity card, one nation-one tax system, one nation - one ration card, one nation- one registration, one nation - one election, so also one nation and one education system. If all the above system is closely examined even the common man also understand that there are various hiccups in the implementation stages. As far as NEP is concerned the higher education department has claimed that NEP is implemented successfully, yet many universities could not conduct examinations as per the notified calendar of events. Niti Ayog has commended the efforts of Karnataka on the implementation of NEP. Whereas the department brings out the revised calendar based on the feedback of the stakeholders and the confusion, leads to time overrun.
The department of school education and literacy has stepped into the process of NEP implementation from Pre-School to 12th standard. The children on completion of 3 years as of June can be admitted to Preschool. Similarly, children who have attained 6 years shall be admitted to the 1st standard. Many Schools are apprehensive, but Karnataka Council for Preschools Association opined that 6 years is the apt age to start class 1. The education department has categorically expressed that the students who are currently in UKG but wouldn`t complete 6 years as of June 2023 will not be admitted to 1st standard, instead, they have to repeat 1 year in UKG itself in order to become eligible for class 1. This is the new rule, which apparently demands a debate and consensus. In this connection, the department of schools and literacy has issued an order stating that Children need to be aged 6 to be admitted to class 1 in June.
Vishal R, commissioner, department of public instruction has signed the order.
Earlier the minimum age for the admission to 1st standard was 5 years 5 months and the same has been withdrawn consequent to the latest order. The lower age limit is in practice in Karnataka and Maharashtra resulting in widening age differences and poor learning rates in many classes. This decision of age 6 for 1st standard not only aligns with NEP but also RTE defended by the schools.
The move drew mixed reactions from stakeholders, leaving many parents, schools and teachers worried. But the preschool authorities and education experts have hailed the decision of the government. If anyone looks at the reality the parents are not happy with the circular. Any child who is born in either July or August what will happen to them? It may not be justifiable to make such children wait till next June. As per the present order, the child born in July has to lose 1 year which will have its own repercussion both legally and physically. This issue should have been looked at by the High power committee of NEP 2020 led by Mr. Kasturi Ranagn.
Many parents wish to enrol their children in grade 1 at a very early age. But the admission of children at 1st standard may not be the right action as it never supports emotion or development. Most schools in Bengaluru bring in too much academic rigour even in grade 1 which hampers the growth of children. The preschool management can make arguments either for or against the move, but it should involve any commercial issue. Karnataka Council for Preschools Association said 6 is the apt age to start class 1. Parents should not fear losing out on one valuable year, but it is an advantage to the children who will be elder than others and will have better learning outcomes in the class.
The council suggested that preschools start a separate preparatory stage for children who will have to repeat UKG. But Association of Managements of Primary and Secondary Schools of Karnataka wrote to the chief minister and the department asking them to reconsider the decision. SATS does not allow a child to be detained in a class one more time, even parents also may not support it. In case the children born in July need to repeat UKG which may have a negative impact on the psychological aspects of children asked to stay back for one more year while their peers move on.
If the government wants to make such a regulation, it should start from pre-primary. Set an age limit for entry to nursery so that no hassles for entry to class 1. Waiting for 1 year becomes a rigid procedure which may lead to a dropout rate. Management of the Independent CBSE Schools Association urged the government to roll back the decision. Private schools also made an appeal to the government not to take an arbitrary decision as such the order needs to be revisited.
Edu news opines that the order of the government has been issued hastily and arbitrarily. The media also advise the government not to be rigid with the children who are born in July. It is clear that repetition in the elementary grade discourages the children both mentally and emotionally. Therefore suggested that 3 months grace period will cure all such obstacles, if so children born from June to September may be permitted to join for standard 1. Alternatively, the minimum age may be properly fixed at the Preschool admission level.