Education: No Detention Policy

Facts:
  • Dropout rates till Class 8 are just 4%, but they rise to above 20% after that. This is because of the no-detention policy
  • Government has passed The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (Second Amendment) Bill, 2017 to abolish the ‘no detention policy’ in schools.
 
What is No Detention Policy?
  • Under this policy, the students up to class VIII are automatically promoted to the next class without being held back even if they do not get a passing grade.
  • The policy was implemented as part of the Continuous and Comprehensive Evaluation (CCE) under the RTE Act to ensure all-round development of students. 
  • The concept of CCE which was imported from the West lays emphasis on evaluating a child through the year, and not just based on performance in one or two term exams.
  • The basic objective behind the no-detention policy was to prevent dropouts.
  • The no detention policy in the RTE does not mean the abolition of assessment rather it calls for a replacement of the traditional system of evaluation with a continuous and comprehensive assessment that is not threatening.
  • The policy also intends to free the students from the pressure and fear of examination and give them a stress-free academic environment and childhood.
 
Why in news?
  • The HRD Ministry has decided to remove the no-detention policy for students from the next academic year. 
  • The government’s decision comes after it had received several complaints regarding the deterioration of the quality of basic education in the country.
  • In addition, the States have been asking for the withdrawal of the no-detention policy from the Right to Education Act 2009. 
  • As per the critics, the policy has resulted in remarkable improvement in enrolments but has brought down the academic standards.
 
 

 The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (Second Amendment) Bill, 2017
  • The Bill amends provision related to no detention policy in the parent Act to empower central or state government to allow schools to hold back child in class 5, class 8, or in both classes.
  • It mandates conducting, regular examination in class 5 and class 8 at end of every academic year.
  • In case, child fails class 5, class 8 examinations, he will be given additional instruction and opportunity for a re-examination (within two months from the declaration of the result).
  • If child fails again in re-examination, he may be held back in class 5, class 8, or in both classes.
  • The Bill empowers Union and State governments to decide whether to not hold back child in any class till completion of elementary education.
  •  Further, Union or State governments will decide manner and conditions subject to which child may be held back.

 

What are the views of committees in this regard?
  • The TSR Subramanian committee on Education had observed that the no detention policy in schools should be applicable till Class V and exams be held from Class VI onwards.
  • Prior to this, the Vasudev Devnani committee had also recommended for the revocation of No-Detention Policy.
 
Why is scrapping ‘no-detention policy’ a bad decision?
  • The no-detention policy to promote students automatically to higher classes every year till Class VIII was instituted to check the high number of dropouts
  • The socially and economically disadvantaged sections were getting the benefits of this policy
  • According to many experts, the NDP was wrongly interpreted to create an environment in which the significance of evaluating a student’s learning outcomes was undermined
Continuous Comprehensive Evaluation (CCE)
  • It is aimed to assess the child’s understanding of what was being taught in class at periodic intervals
  • This is the reason behind the decision of scrapping NDP, as this evaluation process shows bad results of evaluations of students
CCE and its drawbacks:
  • Teachers were not given adequate training to undertake this reform of CCE
  • Schools are not fully compliant with the RTE’s requirements on infrastructure and teacher availability
  • In fact, about 8 per cent primary schools have just one teacher
  • These situations made CCE, an ineffective reform
The way forward
  • The RTE Act has a provision for continuous and comprehensive evaluation, the government should work on it
  • But transferring the responsibility of performance to children, many of whom come from underprivileged backgrounds, can only produce a less literate citizenry
  • The move to scrap the NDP will make the RTE’s goal of inclusive education a very difficult one
  • The government should rethink the move
 
 
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