MPs on Wednesday discussed the expansion of compulsory pre-primary education from the age of four years instead of four years and eight months.

The bill and regulations providing for the extension were put before the House education committee within the framework of the national recovery and resilience plan 2021-2026.

Under the current legislation, compulsory pre-primary education applies to the age group of four years and eight months to six years.

The implementation of the reform in state and private education will be carried out gradually in three phases.

In the 2023-2024 school year, the age limit for admission to compulsory pre-primary education will be extended by two months, while in the 2024-2025 school year, it will be extended by two additional months (four months in total).

In the 2025-2026 school year, the project will be fully implemented by extending the age of admission to compulsory pre-primary education by eight months.

The legislation provides that anyone who has custody of a pupil and fails to enrol in pre-primary education commits an offence punishable by imprisonment for up to three months or a fine of up to €1,000 or both.

In total 50,038 children will attend public primary schools, 12,803 children public kindergartens and 537 children will attend special schools in the 2022-2023 school year.