On September 18, the Maharashtra education ministry issued a government resolution (GR) mandating December 31 as the new cut-off date for pre-primary and class 1 school admissions. This will lead to much younger children aged 2.5 years being admitted to nursery/pre-primary and 5.5 years into class I. A month later, protests and demands from early childhood educators to withdraw this GR are growing and the Early Childhood Association of India has launched a #nursery@3 campaign demanding withdrawal of this GR.
The overwhelming consensus among early childhood education experts is that pushing young children into early formal learning will be detrimental to their cognitive development, cause learning stress, and result in leaning gaps and difficulties. The NEP 2020 also mandates that early childhood education must begin from 3 years of age.
On October 12, the Maharashtra government issued a clarification regarding its September 18 GR. While it has not revoked its earlier GR, it has allowed schools that have already completed their admissions for the academic year 2021-22 to follow its directives in 2022-23. It also stated that for class I admissions, children should have completed 6 years of age in December 2020 to be admitted in the academic year 2021-22.
EducationWorld managing editor Summiya Yasmeen spoke to a galaxy of early childhood and development experts and parents on this issue. Watch the video for the perspectives of Dr. Swati Popat Vats, president, Early Childhood Association, Dr. Samir Dalwai, development pediatrician, Ruchita Dhar Shah, founder, First Moms Club and Shailaja Menon, associate professor, School of Education, Azim Premji University, Bangalore.