The Gujarat high court finished hearing petitions challenging the state government’s decision to not admit children below six years of age to Class 1 from the current academic year and has reserved its judgment.
A group of 55 petitioners have demanded that the June 1 cut-off date for counting six years as the minimum age for admissions be extended till December 31.
Citing examples of other states which have granted the relaxation, the petitioners argued that their children will be six years old by year-end, but without an extension, will have to repeat a year in pre-school.
One of the petitioners challenged the state government’s rules on implementing the Right to Education Act contending that while the government has raised the minimum age of admissions to Class 1 from five years to six years, certain clauses have not been deleted, leading to contradictions.
These petitioners have also contended that the RTE Act mandates the government to admit a child in schools once he completes six years, and it cannot deny admission to a child between six and 14 years.
They also argued that the state government did not publicise its decision widely enough in 2020 and parents admitted their wards in pre-schools.
Opposing these petitions, the state government has asserted that it has granted a three-year grace period for enforcing the minimum age rule as it is a central government decision as part of the New Education Policy.