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Appropriate Age for Class 1 Admission

  • 21 Nov 2023
  • 3 min read

Source: IE

Why in News?

The issue of the appropriate age of admission to Class 1 has been a matter of debate in India for a long time.

  • There were 14 States and Union Territories, as of March 2022, that allow Class 1 admission for children who have not completed six years.
  • However, the Union government has recently ordered all states and UTs to make six years the minimum age of admission for Class 1, by the New Education Policy (NEP) 2020.

What does the NEP 2020 Say About the Minimum Age for Class 1 Admission?

  • The new NEP pitches for a “5+3+3+4” design for formal schooling corresponding to the age groups 3-8 years (foundational stage), 8-11 years (preparatory stage), 11-14 years (middle stage), and 14-18 years (secondary stage).
    • This brings early childhood education (also known as preschool education for children of ages 3 to 5 years) under the ambit of formal schooling.
  • This effectively means that a child should be 6 years old to be eligible for admission into Class 1, after completing three years of early childhood education.


  • Right to Education (RTE) Act, 2009 guarantees education from the age of 6 years to 14 years.
    • This means that a child is expected to begin elementary education (Class 1) at the age of 6 years.

What does Research Say About the Entry Age for Formal Education?

  • Comparative studies in New Zealand observed groups of children starting formal literacy lessons at ages 5 and 7.
    • Children who started at age 5 showed less positive attitudes towards reading and exhibited poorer text comprehension compared to those who started later.
  • Global Perspective on Entry Age:
    • Six is the standard age for primary school in East Asia and most European countries.
      • Scandinavian countries start formal education at seven.

UPSC Civil Services Examination, Previous Year Question (PYQ)


Q. Which of the following provisions of the Constitution does India have a bearing on Education? (2012)

  1. Directive Principles of State Policy
  2. Rural and Urban Local Bodies
  3. Fifth Schedule
  4. Sixth Schedule
  5. Seventh Schedule

Select the correct answer using the codes given below:

(a) 1 and 2 only
(b) 3, 4 and 5 only
(c) 1, 2 and 5 only
(d) 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5

Ans: (d)

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