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Confusion over KG1 admission age for kids prevails Olivia Olarte-Ulherr / 25 February 2014 According to the new rules by the MoE the new admission age for KG1 should be four years, KG2 is five years and Grade 1 is six years. While the admission age for new students was already made clear to schools across the UAE, many private schools, however, are still waiting to hear from their respective education zones. “Till now we did not receive (a circular) from the Ministry of Education (MoE) and so we will inquire about this from the MoE. I know they already sent a letter to some areas,” said Said Al Najjar, principal of the Elite American Private School in Umm Al Quwain. Classes at the school are still ongoing and registration for the new academic year has yet to commence. The Elite currently accepts three year olds by September 15 for its KG1. “We are not registering (new students) yet. But once we receive the circular, we will apply the rule,” he affirmed. The Modern Indian School, Dibba Branch, has started accepting registration for their new academic year in April, but has yet to receive word from the Fujairah education zone if they need to abide by the new admission age of four years old for KG1. “We are accepting three years old for KG1 for now but we are still waiting. We didn’t receive any circular and we already inquired with the Fujairah education zone but they said they will get back to us,” said a school staff. The St Mary’s Catholic School, which offers the Indian and British curricula in Fujairah, also said they have not received any circular on this regard. “We have followed-up so many times with the MoE Fujairah but have received no circular, so we will go ahead as usual,” said Layla Mohammed, the Arabic secretary at the school. The school accepts 3.5 years for KG1. Its CBSE curriculum starts in April while classes at the British curriculum commences in September. According to the new rules by the MoE, which is now enforced in public and private schools in Abu Dhabi, Sharjah, Ras Al Khaimah and Ajman, the new admission age for KG1 (or Foundation Stage 2) should be four years, KG2 (or Year 1) is five years and Grade 1 (or Year 2) is six years. Students should reach the minimum age by the end of April for those joining the Bangladesh schools in January, by July 31 for Asian and Indian schools commencing classes in April and by December 31 for other curricula that starts their school year in September. The new admission age takes effect this 2014-2015 academic year. This applies only to new students and will not affect those currently studying. The Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) confirmed last week that the new rules do not apply to private schools in Dubai and that “the minimum age is determined by each school/curricula.” According to Dr Haleemah Sadia, principal of the Indian International School Sharjah, her school has already registered new students prior to receiving the circular in January. “We have 150 admissions from the early registration but now we have stopped and are registering as per the new age criteria. We are now in the process of trying to get approval from the MoE for them (early admissions),” she told Khaleej Times. The school previously accepted three year olds for KG1. The Gulf Asian English School in Sharjah and the Indian School in Ras Al Khaimah also confirmed that its new admission age for KG1 is now four years by July 31. The Ajman Modern School, meanwhile, has already set its admission age at four years for KG1 and five years for KG2 by December 31. The American school previously accepted 3.3 years for KG1. Parents from across the country expressed their concern, especially those whose kids are affected by the cut-off. Anitta Joy, a mother from Abu Dhabi, said that her daughter will be four years by August 12, and just 12 days shy of the minimum admission age for the Indian school. Asiya Shaikh has applied at two schools in Ras Al Khaimah for her daughter but was denied admission as she did not reach the age requirement by 19 days while Lakshmi, from Sharjah, said that her daughter is a month less. All mothers are hoping to get special approval from their respective education zones. “This new rule has made a whole lot of mess and has put lot of parents under stress,” complained Lakshmi. Santhosh Joseph from Abu Dhabi is in the same boat. He has been told that his child is four days less than the minimum age requirement and should apply only next year as per the Abu Dhabi Education Council (Adec) rule. “What can we do, we have to wait for one year as there is no chance. My wife and I are just worried that there is an age limit for KG1 and she will be overage at 4.7 years next year,” he pointed out. According to the Adec’s Private School and Quality Assurance (PSQA) sector, there is “no exemption” to the new age rule even if a child is a day short of the cut-off dates. It added that there is also no age ceiling for KG1 and that a child of 4.7 years can still enrol next year. Continuing students Swapna Edward’s son is finishing KG1 in India this March and she plans to bring him to Abu Dhabi to continue his studies. She approached the Indian schools here but was told that he is two months short for the KG2 admission age. “Many Indian schools informed us if the transfer is from India, the ‘new age rule’ will be followed, (but) if he is studying in the UAE, then they can consider. So I approached the Adec directly and got a positive reply that he can continue in KG2. They informed me that ‘there is no separate rule for transfer from India’,” Edward said. The Adec confirmed that once a child has a certificate showing he finished KG1, his studies will not be disturbed and he can continue his studies here similar to other continuing students, regardless of the age. In a circular sent to schools by the Adec in December 2013, it noted that the new enrolment ages do “not apply to any current or transferring students”. firstname.lastname@example.org For more news from Khaleej Times, follow us on Facebook at facebook.com/khaleejtimes , and on Twitter at @khaleejtimes Continue reading →
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