A day before the Delhi Assembly discusses the amendment to the Right to Education (RTE) Act that will do away with the “no-detention policy”, educationists, NGOs and experts alike have come out in strong opposition of the move. They have called it “damaging, regressive and counter-productive” for school education.
Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia Friday had tabled the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (Delhi Amendment) Bill, 2015, which proposes the abolition of the no-detention policy till Class VIII. No class is specified after which detention will be legal, implying that children can be held back from entry level.
Staunchly defending the move, Sisodia had said, “We have to first prepare the ground, strengthen the Continuous Comprehensive Evaluation (CCE) System and prepare our teachers and students… As of now, our assessment shows this system has done a lot of damage… Giving quality CCE to ensure the child is ready for the next level is something the government wants to focus on. Once the planned changes in teacher training and curriculum are in place, we can say that we are ready for no-detention policy.”
However, educationists have termed the decision regressive.
“The biggest problem with the move is that it places the blame on the student for not being able to perform while absolving the school of any blame. It will prove to be most damaging for poor students as they will be the first to be pushed out of the system,” said Anita Rampal, Dean, Faculty of Education, Delhi University.
“Instead of failing the child, the government needs to asks what it has done to create an enabling, learning environment for children…,” she added.
Sisodia had also cited results of examinations from 2011 to 2014, where large sections of students failed but were still promoted — 14 per cent from Class VI in 2011-12, 18 per cent the next year and 25 per cent in 2013-14. The trends were similar for classes VII and VIII.
Sisodia had also observed that some provisions of the RTE Act were prohibiting quality education.
“No-detention policy up to Class VIII is creating problems for such children who are not attaining minimum level of learning of appropriate class. These problems are realised when these children are promoted to the next class,” said Sisodia.
Refuting the government claims of the policy ‘deteriorating standards’ of education, experts questioned the validity of the government’s claims.
“Across the world, the no-detention policy has been successfully implemented with great results for students. If it can be done everywhere, why not India?” said Parth Shah, president, Center for Civil Society, adding that the government should hire more teachers and conduct remedial classes.