While the mad rush for nursery admissions has begun in the national capital region, many parents are in a fix over the minimum age when their tiny tots should start their pre-schooling.
Majority of parents who seek their wards' entry in any reputed school are now left with one single question: "What is the age limit, three or four?"
The confusion has its origin in Union HRD Minister Kapil Sibal's proposal earlier this year that the age limit for nursery admission can be increased from three to four years.
Many parents believe schools should act according to the Minister's proposal. But the fact is that the proposal has not yet been transformed into action.
Unaware of the reality, worried parents are now seeking advice from their friends and counterparts on social networking sites and other online forums.
"My son's date of birth is 14 Dec 2006. Is he eligible for nursery admissions this year?" asks Chitra in a posting on admissionsnursery.com, a popular online forum where parents share their angst and experiences related to kids' admission.
Vani Roy, a software professional in Noida, says, "My daughter was born in September 2007. Is she eligible for getting into a nursery in this (2011-2012) session? Or, should we wait for the next session?"
Vani, who supports Sibal's proposal of making four years the minimum age for nursery admission, thinks her daughter is too young to go to a school now.
On the other hand, she also fears if she does not go for her child's admission this year, she may miss one year as most schools in NCR have set the age limit of over three years as on March 31, 2011.
Sumit Vohra, the creator of admissionsnursery.Com, says they were receiving more than 50 such queries every day on their forum.
"There is huge confusion among parents regarding the age criteria, people don't know whether they should go for their wards' admission or wait for next session," Vohra told PTI.
"If the government wants to increase the age limit in order to reduce the pressure on the kids, it should come out with a proper legislation," he said.
R P Mallik, chairman of Federation of Public Schools, which has around 300 schools under its ambit in Delhi, said raising of age limit was only a proposal by the HRD Minister.
"We shouldn't expect schools to follow mere proposals. There should be deliberations and regulations if indeed the government wants to increase the age limit," he said.
Besides, Mallik said, Sibal's proposal was meant for Delhi schools and has no bearing on all institutions based in the NCR.
When asked whether they are doing anything over Sibal's proposal, a senior HRD Ministry official said they are still looking into it.
Mallik said it is unlikely that there would be any new notification in this regard.
He said parents who are seeking their child's nursery admission should not waste time in waiting for a new rule.
"It takes a lot of time for the implementation of a new law. If you wait for it, you may miss the bus," he said.
Apart from this confusion, there are several other issues on which parents want clarifications from institutions and authorities.
They complain that there is no clarity whether this season's admission process will be carried out in accordance with the Right to Education (RTE) Act, which came into force on April 1.
The Act is set to change the admission process from the new academic session drastically as it forbids any kind of screening (written or oral test of the child) for admission up to Class VIII.
However, confusion prevails in this regard as many schools in NCR are as usual taking interviews of children as well as their parents.
Schools in Gurgaon, which generally wrap up their admission process much before their counterparts in Delhi, have, however, cancelled the process for the time being.
School officials said they postponed the process as they were willing to wait till there is more clarity on the RTE rules.
© Copyright PTI. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of any PTI content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without their prior written consent.