During the hearing of an appeal, the Supreme Court observed that in the interest of their psychological health, children should not be sent to school at a very early age. The appeal was filed by a group of parents challenging the minimum age criteria of six years for grade 1 admission in Kendriya Vidyalaya for the new academic session. The age criterion previously was five years.
The bench comprising of justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and MM Sundaresh said that there are studies which show the right age for admitting a child to school and the child should not be pushed too much as it may impact his grasping and reading abilities.
The petitioners argued that changing the age criteria without any prior notice was against the interests of students who had the right to participate in the admission process, and it also violated their right under the Right of Children to free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009.
The bench said that every parent feels that their child is a genius who can adapt at any age. It further urged the parents to think about the children and their psychological health. It also stated that there is a right age to start everything including schooling and referred to some studies which show that children do better when they do not start very early.
The bench found favour with the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020, which has fixed the age criteria of six-plus for class 1. The lawyer appearing for the central government pointed out that 21 states have implemented the policy of six-plus age criteria for grade 1 admission, which has remained unchallenged. The court proceeded to dismiss the appeal.
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