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Primary school's starting age deadline triggers controversy again | Updated: 2018-08-22 10:26
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Chinese primary school pupils. [File Photo/VCG]

As a new school year is drawing near in China, the age deadline for primary school entrance has once again triggered controversy, reports the Legal Daily.

The school year usually begins on September 1 in China. Most schools deny enrollment to children who will not have turned six year old by August 31, the age where a pupil's schooling should start according to China's Compulsory Education Law.

But the August 31 deadline also means that children whose birthday was only days later than the deadline have to wait a whole year before being allowed to enter primary school.

Not wanting to see their children face a year-long delay to start school, many parents are appealing for the rules regarding the primary school starting age to be loosened.

A doctor in Guangzhou said that there are few differences between a five-year-old and a 6-year-old in terms of the mental development, but that the slightly older child will show more maturity and have better self-control.

A teacher told journalist with Legal Daily that children who are a months younger than their peers face a potential gap in knowledge and other abilities, which may impact on their self-confidence.

But a schoolmaster in Chengdu said that her school used to admit children once they reached five and a half years of age, and that most of them successfully adapted to life at school.

Many experts are suggesting that primary school entrance should be based solely on age, and that some flexibility should be introduced to allow for differences in the intelligence and family circumstances of individual children.

In 2017, China's national education authorities issued a document that gave provincial authorities the flexibility to set the date for when children can enter primary school. However, Legal Daily reported that August 31 remains the common age deadline across the country.

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