'RTE Act doesn’t define outcome of learning'
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We feel that age of admission should be between 3.5 and 4.5 years, which is how it was before the RTE came into effect. The new lower age limit is a result of certain petitions in court. I personally believe that formal schooling should start when he/she is mentally and physically fit for it. No matter how stress-free the school tries to keep its environment, there are some pressures like adhering to time-limit or homework. So age limit for admission to nursery should be increased but upper age limit should also be fixed. I was part of the delegation that met the advisory board that was headed by the Education Minster and they said the government will decide on the issue of age limit after the admissions are over.
Did your school face any problems in deciding criteria for admission?
The Directorate of Education started the admission process on January 1, 2013. The last date for schools to submit their admission criteria was December 31, 2012. The directorate did not have any time to check the admission criteria of all schools and get back to them. So with this sort of a system, everything happens in the last minute.
Before the RTE came into effect we conducted admissions through a draw of lots and four times the number of candidates to the number of seats were short-listed. The lottery was conducted in public and the parents were also satisfied with the system. Now, when we sent our criteria to the Directorate of Education on December 24, 2012, and the Directorate called us back on December 30. We made changes in the sub-categories in the sibling criteria in the last minute. This criteria has been valid for three years and all parents whose children have been studying at the school were suddenly introduced to a new criteria which lead to confusion. The main thing is that the working and functioning of the government schools should be improved. Chandigarh has excellent government schools and parents prefer sending their children to government schools rather than private ones.