21 states following minimum age of 6 yrs for Class I admission

The Central government’s directions align with the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020, which recommends strengthening children’s learning at the ‘foundational stage’.

Published: 19th April 2023 09:39 AM  |   Last Updated: 19th April 2023 10:15 AM   |  A+A-

Students, exams, classes, education

(Express Illustrations)

Express News Service

NEW DELHI:  Twenty-one states have started admitting students at the age of six years in Class I, as directed by the Centre. Southern states such as Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Tamil Nadu are yet to comply with this decision despite repeated reminders, official sources said.

Karnataka and Haryana have confirmed that they will follow the age criteria from next academic year, sources said. 

Though, the Education Ministry’s Department of School Education and Literacy has “reiterated” directions to all the state and union territories “to align their age to admission with the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 and provide admission to Grade-I at the age of 6+ years,” many states and union territories are yet to follow the age criteria.

Apart from the southern states, the other states and union territories that are yet to follow the directions are Delhi, Goa, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Puducherry, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand, sources told this paper.

The states that are following the centre’s directions are Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Chandigarh, Chhattisgarh, Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu, Gujarat, Jharkhand, Ladakh, Lakshadweep, Maharashtra, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Odisha, Punjab, Sikkim, Tripura and West Bengal.

The centre’s directions align with the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020, which recommends strengthening children's learning at the ‘foundational stage’ as a national priority for the country.  

The foundational stage consists of five years of learning opportunities for all children (between three to eight years) which includes three years of preschool education and two years of early primary Grade-I and Grade II.

In its letter on February 9, the Union Education Ministry had once again “reiterated” and directed all states and union territories to “align” their age for admission to Class 1 at six years in line with the NEP 2020. 

The reminder from the ministry came after many states continued with the old practice of admitting students as early as five years. The Ministry had issued a reminder in 2021 and 2022 also.

Kendriya Vidyalaya schools (KVs), which come under the centre, have already changed their policy and made the minimum age six instead of five years.

In a reply in March 2022 in the Lok Sabha, the ministry said that there are wide variations in the age criteria followed by states, with 14 states and UTs allowing Class 1 admission for children who have not completed six years. 

The ministry had said that in Assam, Gujarat, Puducherry, Telangana, and Ladakh, children who have turned five can get admitted to Class 1. At the same time, in Andhra Pradesh, Delhi, Rajasthan, Uttarakhand, Haryana, Goa, Jharkhand, Karnataka and Kerala, the minimum age for admission is five plus.

As per officials, the NEP 2020 promotes seamless learning and development of children from pre-school to Grade- II. “This can only be done by ensuring accessibility to three years of quality preschool education for all children studying in Anganwadis or Government/Government-aided, private and NGO-run preschool centres.” the officials said.


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