The Center on Thursday defended Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan’s decision before the Delhi High Court on Thursday to set six years as the minimum age for admission to class 1 in Kendriya Vidyalayas in the coming academic year.
The Center’s counsel told Justice Rekha Palli that prescribing six years as the age for eligibility for class 1 was in line with the National Education Policy (NEP) that all Kendriya Vidyalayas must follow.
The lawyer explained that paragraph 4.1 of the NEP deals with the adoption of a new “5+3+3+4 draft” for school education, with the Foundational Stage covering the ages of three to eight years and while the first three years for Anganwadi / pre-school, two years are before primary school, ie grades 1-2.
“We have asked the States to take over NEP. There are 21 states that follow six plus (years). States are in transition’, said the counsel.
The Delhi government lawyer said it has no role to play in the decision taken for the Kendriya Vidyalayas and in Delhi government schools, the age limit for admission to class 1 is 5-6 years.
The court, hearing petitions challenging the six-year minimum age criteria, wondered how the difference in age criteria for Class 1 will “work out” and asked the Delhi government attorney to follow instructions on the matter, stating the case for further hearing on March 14.
“We will have a holistic view. It will have an impact on everything. List on Monday,” the court said.
Judge Palli had asked the Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan (KVS) and the Center’s position on the petition earlier this week.
KVS then informed the court that the age criteria had been updated in strict accordance with the National Education Policy 2020 issued by the Center on July 9, 2020.
In her petition, a five-year-old girl claimed that the change in the age criteria, which was previously five years, violates the right to education guaranteed to the petitioner under Articles 14, 21 and 21-A of the Constitution, as well as the right to education. under the provisions of the Delhi School Education Act, 1973 and the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009.
The petitioner, a UKG student represented by lawyer Ashok Agarwal, alleged that KVS suddenly changed the admission criteria for class 1 to six years by uploading the guidelines for admission to Kendriya Vidyalayas on its portal just four days before the admission process started last month. .
The petition alleges that change is arbitrary, discriminatory, unjust, unreasonable and without the authority of the law and that it did not give parents sufficient time to make alternative arrangements.
“The change to more than six years is an invention of the defendant KVS without any mandate from the NEP 2020 (the National Education Policy 2020) and that also to the detriment of children like the petitioner,” according to the petition submitted via the girl’s father.
It added that most of the well-known private schools have closed their admission and compared to students from other schools, children in KV would lose a year through no fault of their own.
“No comments from interested parties have been received and no public discussion has been held. Therefore, it is respectfully filed that the challenged directives are unreasonable and affected by Article 14 of the Constitution of India,” the petition said, requesting authorities to reformulate the eligibility criteria in line with the law.