Children who turn six in 2024 will be accepted into year one regardless of their birth date, Fiji’s Minister for Education Premila Kumar announced today, adding that the policy change also spells changes for students who get into kindergarten the same year.
This follows cabinet approval to amend Regulation 8 of the Education Regulations 1966, in particular, Establishment and Registration of schools, paving the way for the admission of children in year one as long as the child turns six by 31 December in the year of admission.
Children will no longer be declined enrolment into Year 1 just because they were born after 30 June, Ms. Kumar said.
“By which we mean that a child in Year 1 should turn 6 years of age in that year. This change will allow a child to enter formal education before he or she turns 6 years old in the year of admission.”
Ms. Kumar said the decision to fully implement the policy from 2024 is to give the ministry a 12-month lead time to plan for the transition, working with heads of schools and taking into account other policies in place including zoning.
To facilitate and manage student enrolment in light of the revised requirement, the cabinet has also approved provisional enrolment for year one students.
“Parents wishing to send their children to Year 1 in 2024 can start applying for provisional admission from 1 March 2023. Provisional admission will close on 1 May 2023 and parents will be notified of final admission before 31 July 2023 for Year 1 students in 2024.
“It will ensure that students are enroled within their zones and will also provide the opportunity to negotiate with the parents to move students, to avoid overcrowding in certain schools. Provisional admission will also assist the Ministry in establishing additional classrooms or appointing additional teachers to address the increase in student numbers in a particular zone.
With this amendment, the age of children eligible to enrol in preschool or kindergarten will also change. To enrol in preschool or kindergarten, a child must turn 5 years old by 31 December of the admission year.
“We urge parents to also apply for provisional admission for children who will be attending preschool or kindergarten in 2024. Their provisional admission will also start on 1 March 2023 and close on 1 May 2023. Admission will be finalised before 31 July 2023.”