School admission age set at four

Institutes which start classes in September to follow rule this year, others next year


Muaz Shabandri

Published: Sun 18 May 2014, 11:54 PM

Last updated: Fri 3 Apr 2015, 9:49 PM

Students seeking admission to private schools in the UAE will have to complete four years of age, according to guidelines issued by education authorities.

Schools which start their academic year in September, will be allowed to enrol students who complete the age of four by December 31. These schools will be expected to follow the rule starting this year itself. Other students going to Indian curriculum schools which start in April, will have to complete four years by July 31 of the admission year. These schools will have to follow the new age criteria from 2015.

Abdulrahman Nassir, chief of customer relations at Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA), said: “This policy will ensure uniformity across the schools sector in the UAE and that each child receives the best possible start to his or her education.”

The rule was announced to schools in a circular sent by the UAE Ministry of Education in December 2013. However, a few schools had already started admissions under the older rules.

Radhakrishnan Nair, Principal of Sharjah Indian School said: “The change in age-limit allows children to spend more time at pre-school or learn in an informal setting. We have followed the ministry guidelines from this academic year itself, and it is in the larger interest of the student community.”

The rule will take effect across the country and it will ensure age uniformity, even when children change their school or curriculum. Additionally, all students must be enrolled in school by the age of six, which is the equivalent of Grade 1 or Year 2.

Earlier, students in Dubai were allowed to join schools if they had completed three years by April 15th of the admission year.

The KHDA has informed Dubai private schools of these changes. Schools must update their admission policies as soon as possible and communicate with parents.

Abdul Aleem, a parent in Dubai, said the rule did not make any difference to parents like him. “It is good to have clear dates and guidelines from the ministry because schools usually pass the blame onto authorities. Now schools will not have an opportunity to mislead parents,” he said.

Another parent, Munish Varma said: “While the rule will ensure children in different schools are almost the same age, it will cause a difference of six months to one year for any children who move back to India. Schools in India accept children from three-and-a-half years.”

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