It is good thing that Department of Education, Maharashtra State has made it official to set the cut-off birth date for school admissions from July 31 to September 30. This provides ease of admission to parents who earlier were stressed about the situation. The education department had earlier made similar changes for admissions to seats reserved for economically deprived sections under the Right to Education Act, 2009. And now it has gone ahead to extend the facility to all students.
In January 2015 the Education Department issued a government resolution setting an age criterion for school admissions. This was in line with requirements under Right To Education, Act that made it mandatory for students in class I to be six years of age. To comply to this regulation by year 2019, schools had begun admitting children who had completed three years by July 31 to nursery classes and four-and-a-half years were admitted to senior kindergarten.
Last week it was announced that the rules had been modified and that cut-off date was changed to September 30. This move now enables numerous children to get admission, who would otherwise have had to sit out of formal schooling system for almost a year were they born between July 31 and September 30. The new rule will apply to institutions under all the boards, including CBSE and ICSE.
It was observed that last year the age criterion had fewer children getting admissions in schools. Some schools had to even cut classes to make provisions for a larger intake of students for subsequent academic sessions. But now all children born between July 31, 2016 and September 30, 2017 will become eligible for admissions. The state education department has issued a modified government resolution (GR) bringing into effect September 30 as the cut-off birth date for school admissions from 2017-18 academic sessions.
The new birth date cut-off will be applicable to all schools, regardless of the board they are affiliated to. And most schools are taking care to see that parents are not inconvenienced. Many times children from poorer families especially in rural areas may get just one chance at education and if their parents are told about age cut-off being a deterrent they may not pursue later on. This would be an immense loss in terms of all efforts to push education for all.
RTE Act makes us push for village kids to join schools but quite often parents may not want them to attend school. They would rather a kid sit back and learn chores than go to school. Wanting that extra helping hand at home often rural kids miss out or are turned away because of age criteria with just for a month’s difference! Rural parents might never bring back such a kid to school again! Even though schools find themselves in the middle of such bureaucratic decisions they continue to assist parents with admissions as per the new ruling.