Days after the Union Education Ministry directed all states and Union Territories to admit students to Class 1 only at the age of six, the Kerala Government on Wednesday reiterated that it would continue the practice of admitting students to the class at the age of 5.
General Education Minister V Sivankutty told reporters that the minimum age for admission to Class 1 in the schools in Kerala would be five. “This has been the practice in the state for a long time. The parents, who want to enrol their children in Class 1 at the age of five can do so in the next academic year (starting June). That is our decision. Any decision to increase the enrolment age can be approved only after taking society into confidence,’’ he said.
Justifying the state’s decision on class-1 admission, the minister said that the general education department is not going to change the existing admission system. “All children in Kerala are getting enrolled. Our anganawadis and pre-primary education systems are very effective. If we suddenly increase the age for Class 1 admission to six, there would be a decline of 1 lakh students in class 1 next year. This would have far-reaching consequences in the education sector,” Sivakutty explained.
The minister said the state education system is a model for the entire country and it has been leveraging all facilities available within the federal system. “We have got the benefits of adopting such an approach. All children in the school-going age get enrolled in schools and their uninterrupted schooling is ensured up to Class 12,” he said.
The minister said that the school dropout rate in Kerala is negligible. As per the central government data, the minister said, the dropout rate is very high in the country. Around 8 crore children are out of the school system. At the national level, the average schooling is 6.7 years, whereas in Kerala it is 11 years, he said.Also ReadRemarks against Chandy: Police raids actor Vinayakan’s house; seizes phoneAlarming spike in drug abuse in Kerala as police cases jumped 333% last yearOommen Chandy family member will contest from his Assembly seat, says CongWalayar minor sisters' rape case: Everything you need to know
The Department of School Education and Literacy under the Union Education Ministry has recently directed all states and UTs to “align their age of admission with the policy and provide admission to Grade-I at the age of 6+ years”. It wanted all states to ensure accessibility to three years of quality preschool education for all children, whether they were studying in anganwadis, or in preschools.