With changes in power structure comes changes in policies. The human resource development ministry which witnessed a major change a couple of months back with the installation of Prakash Javadekar as the head and removal of Smriti Irani has taken up the task of changing rules and policies.
The National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) has advised the central government against scrapping the “no detention” policy, reported The Economic Times.
The report quoted the apex education advisory body’s director Hrushikesh Senapathy as saying, "The policy has been most effective in checking school dropout rate and doing away with it could lead to a spiral in the number of schoolgoers dropping out."
The Javadekar-led ministry has been keenly pushing for doing away with the "no detention" clause under the Right to Education Act.
According to NCERT’s website, "the RTE Act prohibits any public examination up to class VIII and no detention policy has to continue."
The RTE Act, 2009 introduced the provision of no detention under article 16. The article states, “No child admitted in a school shall be held back in any class or expelled from school till the completion of elementary education”.
According to the International Journal of Humanities and Social Science Studies, the act proposes no detention up to class VIII in order to increase retention of children in schools by way of no pass-fail system and to realise the goal of universalisation of elementary education.
The policy also states that a child cannot be detained in the same class or expelled for consecutive years. The child will be promoted to the next level automatically irrespective of its performance.
The policy has been a topic of argument and centre of controversies since it was introduced. Teachers and academicians are of the view that this policy deteriorates the level of education. The quality has been going down since it was introduced, some argue.
The HRD ministry referred the issue to the law ministry and sought its advice on whether the clause can be done away with through a non-legislative method instead of taking the longer route of amending the RTE Act.
According to a report by The Indian Express, almost 18 states want this policy to be repealed and had submitted a report to Irani in May 2016 suggesting that the government bring back the pass-fail system from standard VI.
However, it also recommended that in case a child does not pass in the first instance, he or she should be given two more chances to appear in the exam.
Senapathy counters the arguments against the policy by saying, "Scrapping it is not the real solution. You can scrap no-detention policy but once you scrap it, dropout rate will increase."
According to him, the policy itself is not the problem, the implementation is. The policy should be retained while improving teaching simultaneously, he added.