Under-age admission issue: a suggestion

I understand that there is this rule, or that policy of minimum age, and that the Ministry is right to enforce it. As an educator, I also don’t contest the body of research on the benefit of a minimum age to enroll a child into a formal learning environment. However, the fact is that the cat has been let loose. How does a parent explain this drama to the five-year olds who may be looking forward to going back to the schools when they reopen next month? Can one reason out with a toddler on a government policy or on a finding from a scientific research? if you have been a parent, you know, you can’t.

My point is, at the core of this issue should be the feelings and welfare of the children. Otherwise, what is the essence of a system or rules or policies?

From my experience, both my daughters (they are big now) simply LOVED the school that they even found weekends to be boring. Everyday they looked forward to their classmates, their teachers, the dogs, the singing and the play time. I can’t imagine what psychological impact would they have had, if they were suddenly stopped from doing what they loved at their age. It would have been devastating to their psyche, their self-esteem and their dreams.

Yes, the respective parents or the guardians may be defaulted, but let’s not forget that behind those rules and policies, and the possible infringements, are some 900+ innocent children (our children) who have nothing to do with what is happening – or what has happened. Should they suffer the consequences? I don’t think they should.

I am not affected directly by this saga. But looking solely through the lenses of those 5-years olds, I hope the government and the ministry will bring out a human face on this issue and not just pull out the rule book or policies. This is a small country, after all. We are all affected. Maybe a one-time condonation order can be passed by the Prime Minister and the Cabinet to regularize who are already in. And also impose a huge penalty hereafter to whoever is willfully defaulting this rule – if we are serious with it. It is just a suggestion.

The condonation principle in governance is not unusual. It is done everywhere in the world by every government in cases that are of non-criminal nature.

I feel this one merits such an exception.


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