As the admission season approaches, parents of children who are currently in pre-kindergarten classes are up in arms as school managements are asking them to repeat a year to abide by the New Education Policy (NEP) and Right To Education (RTE) rules. The rules say that to get admission to class 1, students have to be of six years and hence, any student who falls short of the age is being asked to repeat a grade.
The rule will be applicable to the students who will be joining class 1 from 2025 onwards. “The school is saying that as of June 1, 2026, my son should be six years old to join first grade. They are not allowing even one day delay (for those who have their birthdays in June itself). The school had a meeting, but it was inconclusive. I think my son should mostly repeat pre-kg now. There is no clarity yet,” said Sudha P., a resident of Chikkalasandra.
The parents also questioned why schools accepted admissions for children who were under the prescribed age for pre-kg if they knew a rule like this existed. As the fee structure for pre-kg is also similar to that of kindergarten classes, parents are also worried about double expenditure.
“We are demanding that they exempt the children who’ve already taken admission, and implement it from next year. The school is not agreeing and is blaming the government, whereas the government has left it to schools to decide if a grade should be repeated. It is a waste of a whole academic year and the fees we paid,” said Chaitra Prakash, a parent from Subramanyapura.
A few parents also shared concerns about how the students who have to repeat a grade will feel left back when their friends who are above the age bar proceed to the next class. “Children these days are very sensitive and observant. Making them repeat just because they fall short a few days or a few weeks does not make much sense,” a parent remarked.
However, government officials are firm on the decision that students should be of four years of age when they join LKG, five years when they join UKG, and six years old by the time they start first grade. “The rules in the RTE clearly say that they should begin LKG at four years of age. As the decision was taken mid-year, the government has provided relaxation to a few batches until 2025. Pre-kg is neither a formal class nor regulated by us. Even LKG and UKG is informal, but registered,” said Vishal R., Commissioner, Department of Public Instruction.
He also confirmed that there is no compulsion for parents to make their children repeat pre-kg, LKG, or UKG and instead make them join for the eligible grade the next academic year.