THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Admissions have never been this chaotic for schools before. Even the relaxation in enrolment age of standard I student to 5.5 years has not helped clear the confusion prevailing in school admissions.
Amidst allegations by teachers’ organisations that the enrolment medley would only add to division falls in government-aided schools and help CBSE schools enlarge their domain, the Education Department is expected to take up the matter in its meeting scheduled on April 11.
Many school-heads do not feel that the relaxation from six years to 5.5 years have sorted out the issue of enrolment. “In our system, children of six years of age are entering standard II. So then, where are the students to fill standard I? The relaxation is not free of confusion either. What about children having completed five years and three months or four months? Are they eligible? The important thing is get these 5.5. category into government schools when they could be admitted to CBSE schools in five years of age,” says a headmaster who prefers not to be named.
The teachers’ organisations, both pro-Left and pro-Congress, consider it premature to carry out the enrolment clause without considering the option of starting pre-primary schools in government sector which has also been put down in the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act. “It is one of the biggest crisis school admissions have ever faced. The department and the Minister says the implementation of RTE Act would require making the enrolment age six. But the Act also says that government should give pre-primary education to children. Why is the government stubborn in enrolment age when it could first open pre-primary classes, ensure that children do not flock away from government schools and then implement the age clause? As of now there are less than 1,200 government schools, where there are pre-primary classes,” says pro-Left Kerala School Teachers Association (KSTA) Secretary M Shahjahan. The pro-Congress Government School Teachers Union (GSTU) president J Sasi adds, “The CBSE schools admit children to standard I in five years. Even when government says admissions would be streamlined in a year, one year gap is enough to create division falls in government schools. The teachers could be safe since the head-counting has been done away with. But who do they teach?” asks Sasi.
The admissions in 6,726 lower primary schools are facing issues. Even the admissions to standard V in UP Schools have gone haywire with standard V demoted to lower primary. Considering the general confusion that has arisen in many areas of education with regard to the implementation of RTE, it would require a thorough scanning of the issues and a collaborated effort to bring a reprieve.