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Indian schools want consulate to take up KG1 admission issue

Posted by Haja Mohideen (Hajas) on 2/26/2014 3:17:15 AM

Indian schools want consulate to take up KG1 admission issue

Sajila Saseendran / 26 February 2014

Officials handling the matter at the mission likely to escalate it to the level of the consul-general and ambassador.


The prevailing kindergarten (KG1) school age confusion has now forced many Indian schools in the northern emirates to seek the intervention of the Indian Consulate in Dubai to sort it out with the UAE education authorities.

Khaleej Times has learnt that several schools have requested the consulate to take up the matter with the UAE Ministry of Education (MoE). It is understood that the officials handling the matter at the mission would escalate it to the level of the consul-general and ambassador so that diplomatic level talks may be initiated in the interest of the members of the community.

“The new order seems to affect Indian and other Asian schools which start the academic year in April… These are things that are worrying the Indian community.  They want us to take it up as a representation,” an official confirmed.

Indian parents are worried that their children who are denied admission to KG1 due to the new rule may lose one year as compared to their counterparts in schools following the same curricula in India and across the world. It is indicated that some parents would prefer their children studying in India itself.

“In India, KG1 admission starts at age three and grade-1 at five years. People keep on moving and especially for higher studies.  In that case, Indian students in the UAE will be getting one year less.”

In the current scenario, an Indian child who completes grade-1 at seven years here will have classmates aged six years if he or she transfers to India.

Similarly, if parents bring an Indian child to join here, that child will get admission again in grade-1 only since he hasn’t met the age requirement.

It is also pointed out that Indian students here would be completing their 12th grade at the age of 18 whereas students in India would be able to compete it by 17 years and start higher education earlier than their counterparts in India.

“When they go for professional courses, this one year makes a huge difference.”

The emirate-wise discrepancy in the age bar has also been feared to put a damper on parents in affected emirates. “Parents in northern emirates may opt for schools in Dubai, though not all Dubai schools are open to them.”

Schools, which had earlier admitted children below four years, are facing administrative and financial difficulties as well since they may be asked to cancel those admissions and refund the parents.

Some schools in northern emirates confirmed receiving a set of new rules from the Ministry of Education, specifying four years as the new minimum age for admission to kindergarten. Indian schools in Sharjah, Ras Al Khaimah, Ajman, Umm Al Quwain and Fujairah will be affected by the new rules, while Dubai schools will continue to follow the older admission age for students.

“There is a lot of confusion and since we have already accepted children below four years for the new academic year starting in April 2014, we have now requested the Ministry of Education to review the rules for this year,” said the principal of an Indian school in Sharjah, who did not wish to be named.

While most Indian schools in the UAE start admissions in October, the new rules were communicated in December — after students had been granted admission in accordance with the older set of rules.

Many of the affected schools have started issuing refunds to parents whose children don’t meet the new minimum age requirement. These parents are now being asked to come for admissions next year, after their child completes four years.

Dr Farooq Wasil, CEO of Goldline Education which manages the Springdales School in Dubai, noted there were no new rules communicated in Dubai.

“Admissions to kindergarten are accepted if the student has completed three years. There is no communication about any change (for Dubai schools) from authorities,” said Dr Wasil.

He added: “There are different viewpoints on the starting age for children. However, every school should ensure the initial years are fun and children are not put under any learning related stress. It should look at creating a joy for learning and physical development.”

(With inputs from Muaz Shabandari)



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