In focus Education

‘No’ to no-detention?

Potential changes to the RTE Act have been met with mixed reactions. Some views

In 2009, a new rule was introduced under Section 16 of the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act, 2009. The rule states: “No child admitted in a school shall be held back in any class or expelled from school till the completion of elementary education.” But recently, a change has been made to this rule. In a meeting held last year, opinions about this policy from all states were solicited. After the Central Advisory Board of Education (CABE) meeting, 23 out of 28 states suggested changes to the existing policy. On the request of these 23 states, modifications have been made to it.

Current students vote against the modifications. “They should stick to the original policy. I am not saying this because it gets easier for us, but simply because the current policy makes sense to the majority of us,” says Kaushal Bhardwaj, Class VII, Holy Child School.

Policy changes

According to the changes being recommended in the policy, students will now be tested twice in Classes V and VIII. The students who fail to pass in the first attempt will have to re-appear for the examination in May. Subsequently, those failing to clear the second attempt will be detained in the same class.

On the other hand, this modification has been welcomed by teachers who believed that the ‘no-detention policy’ had made students not only lethargic, but also ignorant. “I remember there was a student in my class who was failing in Mathematics and English and was barely passing in Social Studies. But when I told him that he should study to score better, he simply told me that he need not worry as he knows that he will reach Class VII,” says a teacher of Bal Bharti Public School, on condition of anonymity.

Students are calling the changed policy “another CCE joke.” Comprehensive and Continuous Evaluation (CCE) was started in 2009, but was recently scrapped. “I was in the 2009 batch when CCE system was introduced. It was a mess, as the CBSE rushed into it. We were treated as guinea pigs. Nobody had a clear idea about this system. The same has been done with the no-detention policy. The CBSE should analyse and then implement, rather than rushing into it,” says Riti Sareen who was in the first CCE batch of Ryan International School, Gurugram.

With the original policy, the Ministry of Human Resources and Development (HRD) aimed at addressing concerns about an increase in the drop-out rate due to students being forced to repeat a class. However, with time, the quality of education deteriorated as students started taking their studies lightly. To work against this, modifications were suggested.

Though the idea has got a nod from 25 states, the bill is yet to be passed by the Parliament. “This detention policy will be a good push for the students as it will give them a fair chance to rectify their mistakes. As a principal I believe primary education is the foundation of a child’s future — the stronger the base, the stronger will be the child’s learning capabilities. The objective is to make them learn from their mistakes so that they do not face any problem in the higher classes,” says Dr. Parul Tyagi, principal, National Victor School.

Experts, too, share the views of the HRD ministry. “I personally feel that this new detention policy is a good decision taken by the HRD ministry, as it will eventually help the students. Giving students two chances to clear the exam would help them rectify their mistakes. If they fail in the first attempt they have another chance in hand,” says Beas Dev Ralhan, CEO, and co-founder, Next Education India.

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Printable version | Jun 6, 2020 5:37:47 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/education/no-to-no-detention/article19523374.ece

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