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Parents express concern over Grade 1 cut-off age

Some parents on Wednesday expressed concern that their children, who already finished Kindergarten, would not be allowed to enroll in Grade 1 following the cut-off age imposed by the Department of Education (Deped).

According to a "24 Oras" report by Tina Panganiban-Perez, an order was released in December last year that a child has to be six years old in order to be enlisted for Grade 1. Students who will turn 6 before Aug. 31 are allowed to enrol in Grade 1.

Incoming Grade 1 students are also required to have an LRN, a permanent 12-digit number the pupil shall keep as proof that they completed Kindergarten. The pupils are to keep their LRN even if they transfer to another school.

"I'm worried that he won't be given an LRN (Learner's Reference Number) by his current school because they're insisting he enroll again to Kinder 2 next year. Despite their position, I will enroll my son to Grade 1 next year," a mother said.

An education legal counsel, meanwhile, said he has appealed to DepEd to consider the concerns of some parents such as the policy's financial burden.

"I'm actually appealing on behalf of the parents for DepEd to relax that rule. Kasi medyo late na, itong December lang lumabas," said Atty. Joseph Noel Estrada.

"Unang effect doon sa bata, I think that's traumatic for them, they will have to repeat their subjects just because they are deficient in months. Number two, the cost to the parents," he added.

But a DepEd official said they have been implementing the policy since 2016.

"Kung hindi natin titibayan 'yang panukala na 'yan. Kahit anong deadline ilagay mo, maski ilagay natin diyan October 31st halimbawa... nako isang araw na lang November na. Ilagay mo November 30 'yan, nako po December na. 'Pag sinabi mong December, January na. Ilang buwan na lang. Hindi po pupwede 'yon," said Undersecretary Tonisito Umali.

Umali also defended the age requirement saying it is the perfect age for Grade 1 students.

"Base sa pag-aaral ay ito po 'yung edad na pinakamaganda po natin talagang tingnan para po sabihing na hinog na hinog na ang bata para mag-Kinder," Umali said. — Anna Felicia Bajo/BAP, GMA News