Decision to raise minimum preschool age in UAE delayed

By the start of the 2014/2015 school year, preschools will only be allowed to accept children from the age of 3 years and 8 months.

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ABU DHABI // A decision to raise the legal preschool admission age in public and private schools from 3 to 4 will not take effect until the 2014-2015 school year, it was reported on Sunday.

The implementation of the decision has been postponed by the Ministry of Education to give the school community time to adapt to the new measure, Fouzia Ghareeb, the ministry's assistant undersecretary for educational operations told The National's Arabic-language sister paper, Al Ittihad.

The postponement is in the best interest of all stakeholders, Ms Ghareeb said, noting that the decision is meant to fix a discrepancy between government and private schools, which respectively accept children into preschool at the age of 3 years and six months and 3 years only. She said the ministry wanted the application of the decision to be "seamless".

When the decision comes into effect, schools will not be allowed to accept children any younger than those who turn 4 by the month of December in that school year.