PUNE: Confusion over the upper age-limit for scholarship exams was cleared up by the chairman of the Maharashtra State Council of Examinationon Wednesday, when he declared that the revised age limits for students of Classes V and VIII were according to the Right to Education Act and will not be changed.
Lakhs of students in the state attempt these exams. Till last year, the scholarship exams were held for students of Classes IV and VII, but this was revised to suit RTEparameters. Now the exams will be held for students of Classes V and VIII. While the upper age-limit for STD IV students till last year was 12, this year, it has come down to 11 in Class V and 14 for Class VIII.
This caused uproar among activists and parents who say that a lot of students will be come ineligible under the new rule.”As per RTE, the student gets admitted to Class I when he is 6 years old. Hence when he reaches Class V, he should be 11 years old. So we have put a cap on age limit. Other students can also apply and take the exam but they will not be eligible for scholarship,” said Dinkar Patil, chairman, MSCE.
Mukund Kirdat, education activist, however says that the RTE does not put an upper age-limit on education.
“The entire argument that the changes in scholarship exam rules have been made as per RTE is totally false. Secondly, RTE was implemented in 2012 here. The students who are in Class 5 now were admitted before that at a time when age limits were not looked at carefully. Hence this rule by exam council is not right and actually, is bad for students of Classes V and VIII.”
To remove all confusion regarding the issue, Patil had also arranged for a video conferencing with all relevant officers of the state. Till Wednesday, about 21,000 schools had registered, out of which, 97,000 were from Class V. Registrations are open till December 31. For the first time ever, this year the students can pay exam fees online through the official portal. About 35,000 scholarships will be available to the aspirants.