No De­ten­tion Pol­icy in Schools .............................

Libertatem Magazine - - Content - By Vaib­hav Sharma

The qual­ity of ed­u­ca­tion par­tic­u­larly at the pri­mary and the sec­ondary lev­els, is of great sig­nif­i­cance for the over­all de­vel­op­ment of the child. The pol­icy of 'No De­ten­tion' is be­ing used in In­dia till the age of four­teen years for im­part­ing the Right to Ed­u­ca­tion (RTE) across the nation. The said pol­icy is be­ing crit­i­cised for re­sult­ing in poor learn­ing lev­els amongst the stu­dents. The 64th meet­ing of the Cen­tral Ad­vi­sory Board of Ed­u­ca­tion (CABE) on 25 Oc­to­ber, 2016 dwelled into the ques­tion of scrap­ping the 'No De­ten­tion Pol­icy'. The meet­ing was at­tended by the rep­re­sen­ta­tives of 28 states and union ter­ri­to­ries along with the heads of ed­u­ca­tional boards. The de­ci­sion to re­view the work­ing of the 'No De­ten­tion Pol­icy' was taken by the Board fol­low­ing the re­quests by mul­ti­ple states to scrap the flawed pol­icy frame­work.

NO DE­TEN­TION POL­ICY

The 'No De­ten­tion Pol­icy' is part of the ed­u­ca­tional frame­work which is be­ing fol­lowed through­out the nation. It was done in pur­suance of the Right to Ed­u­ca­tion which is now a fun­da­men­tal right of ev­ery cit­i­zen of In­dia. The 91st Con­sti­tu­tional Amend­ment Act, 2002 in­serted the Ar­ti­cle 21 A into the Con­sti­tu­tion which pro­vided the right to ed­u­ca­tion to ev­ery child from six to four­teen years of age. The gov­ern­ment passed the Right to Ed­u­ca­tion Act, 2009 in or­der to pro­vide statu­tory back­ing to the said Con­sti­tu­tional Amend­ment. The Sec­tion 16 of the Act pro­vided that no child ad­mit­ted in a school shall be held back in any class or ex­pelled from school till the com­ple­tion of the ele­men­tary ed­u­ca­tion. The le­gal pro­vi­sion en­sured that no stu­dent till the age of four­teen years could be made to re­peat the class not­with­stand­ing the grades he at­tains in the said class.

The pol­icy of 'No De­ten­tion' was im­ple­mented in the nation from 2010 had the ob­jec­tive of en­sur­ing no dropouts from the ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem till the ele­men­tary level. It was adopted be­cause of the fact that a ma­jor rea­son for the non-com­ple­tion of the ele­men­tary ed­u­ca­tion in In­dia was the in­abil­ity of the stu­dent to clear the yearly ex­am­i­na­tion for the pro­mo­tion to next stan­dard. The sys­tem of ex­am­i­na­tion was scrapped till the eighth class and a new Con­tin­u­ance and Com­pre­hen­sive Eval­u­a­tion (CCE) model was adopted. The CCE model com­pro­mised of var­i­ous tests to be con­ducted ev­ery month with the di­vi­sion of the aca­demic year into four terms. The marks are not al­lot­ted to the stu­dents, who were only given grades for their per­for­mance. The most im­por­tant as­pect of this sys­tem is that a stu­dent couldn't fail un­der the CCE sys­tem even if he at­tains the low­est grade. The new sys­tem laid stress on the train­ing of the teach­ers to en­sure fair eval­u­a­tion and bet­ter un­der­stand­ing of the con­cepts. It was also in tune with the

global ed­u­ca­tional sys­tem where the em­pha­sis is given on ba­sic un­der­stand­ing and ap­ti­tude build­ing, and not mere rote mem­o­ri­sa­tion of the facts.

ANAL­Y­SIS OF 'NO DE­TEN­TION POL­ICY'

The Pol­icy of not de­tain­ing a stu­dent till the ele­men­tary level has been in place from the past six years. But the sys­tem which was pri­mar­ily aimed at ad­dress­ing the prob­lem of high dropout rate of stu­dents also suf­fers from grave dis­crep­an­cies. It is be­ing blamed for the poor learn­ing lev­els amongst the stu­dents. The Re­port of CABE Sub­com­mit­tee on the 'As­sess­ment and Im­ple­men­ta­tion of CCE and No De­ten­tion Pro­vi­sion' shows that the Pol­icy is re­spon­si­ble for the de­clin­ing learn­ing lev­els due to the lack of as­sess­ment till the ele­men­tary level. The fact that ex­am­i­na­tions have been scrapped and a stu­dent can­not be de­tained due to poor aca­demic per­for­mance has de­graded the level of ed­u­ca­tion. It has also cul­mi­nated in low mo­ti­va­tion lev­els amongst the stu­dents. The healthy com­pe­ti­tion be­tween the pupils have been sti­fled by it. The chil­dren have not real in­cen­tive for work­ing harder for bet­ter marks. The re­port also blames the pol­icy for low ac­count­abil­ity of teach­ers es­pe­cially in the state owned schools. It has been seen that the teach­ers in var­i­ous schools par­tic­u­larly in the ru­ral ar­eas, don't teach the stu­dents at all due to no fear of their re­sult be­ing sub­jected to the scru­tiny of ex­am­i­na­tions and be­ing rep­ri­manded for poor re­sults of their stu­dents.

The var­i­ous aca­demics have pointed out that the sys­tem is the root cause of the poor qual­ity of ele­men­tary ed­u­ca­tion in the nation. They ar­gue that the sys­tem has led to lack of ped­a­gogy in the schools due to teach­ers be­ing ab­sent from the class­rooms. The main re­quire­ment of the CCE model was to have spe­cially trained teach­ers to en­hance the learn­ing process. But the gov­ern­ment has failed to train the teach­ers and the ped­a­gogues have also adopted a lack­lus­tre ap­proach to­wards the sys­tem. The in­tel­lec­tu­als have urged the need to recog­nise and re­ward the high per­form­ing stu­dents for en­hanc­ing learn­ing lev­els and ba­sic un­der­stand­ing of con­cepts.

RE­VIEW OF POL­ICY BY THE GOV­ERN­MENT

Dur­ing the re­cent meet­ing of CABE, the dis­cus­sion on the scrap­ping of the 'No De­ten­tion Pol­icy' took place. The Union Hu­man Re­source De­vel­op­ment (HRD) Min­is­ter Prakash Javdekar who presided over the meet­ing said that the Cen­tre is look­ing to amend the Right to Ed­u­ca­tion Act, 2009 to grant the power to the re­spec­tive state gov­ern­ments to de­cide about the abo­li­tion of the sys­tem. An­other im­por­tant de­ci­sion taken at the meet­ing was about the cod­i­fi­ca­tion of the learn­ing out­comes and to in­clude them in the RTE rules for eq­ui­table eval­u­a­tion through­out the nation. The de­ci­sion is be­ing seen as part of the Union Gov­ern­ment plan to in­tro­duce 'New Ed­u­ca­tion Pol­icy' in the nation to ad­dress the prob­lems of poor learn­ing lev­els and lack of ba­sic un­der­stand­ing even at the sec­ondary lev­els. The views of the var­i­ous states were taken into ac­count and de­ci­sion to grant the free­dom to the pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ments was taken in or­der to cater to the sen­ti­ments of the state gov­ern­ments.

The de­ci­sion to grant free­dom to the state gov­ern­ments as re­gards the scrap­ping of 'No De­ten­tion Pol­icy' was in league with the rec­om­men­da­tions of the T.S.R. Subra­ma­nium Com­mit­tee which was formed by the gov­ern­ment to sug­gest re­forms in the ed­u­ca­tion sec­tor. The Com­mit­tee in its June 2016 re­port high­lighted the glar­ing la­cu­nae in the ex­ist­ing sys­tem which have led to the de­te­ri­o­ra­tion of the qual­ity of ed­u­ca­tion that is be­ing im­parted to the 33 crore stu­dents till the ele­men­tary level. The rec­om­men­da­tions in­cluded that the 'No De­ten­tion Pol­icy' should be con­tin­ued till the class V. But for the up­per ele­men­tary level, the Com­mit­tee sug­gested that the sys­tem of de­ten­tion should be re­stored sub­ject to the re­me­dial coach­ing for the weaker stu­dents. It also sought for two ex­tra chances for the stu­dents to clear the ex­am­i­na­tion for reach­ing the next stan­dard. It also ad­vo­cated the op­tion of the on-de­mand ex­am­i­na­tion for the higher classes. The pro­posed amend­ments are be­ing seen as vi­tal panacea for the ail­ing ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem in which the stu­dents suf­fered from poor com­mu­ni­ca­tion and learn­ing abil­i­ties.

CON­CLU­SION

The Union Gov­ern­ment has re­cently de­cided to give the free­dom to the state gov­ern­ments to de­cide as re­gards the scrap­ping the 'No De­ten­tion Pol­icy'. The pol­icy has led to dis­mal learn­ing skills and low ac­count­abil­ity of the teach­ers to­wards the stu­dents. The step is seen as a start­ing point for the in­tro­duc­tion of the 'New Ed­u­ca­tion Pol­icy' for im­prov­ing the ele­men­tary ed­u­ca­tion level. The abo­li­tion of the pol­icy will help in ad­dress­ing the prob­lem of poor un­der­stand­ing lev­els and will foster healthy com­pe­ti­tion amongst the stu­dents. It will also pre­pare the stu­dents for the tougher en­trance ex­am­i­na­tions which they need to face af­ter the se­nior sec­ondary level in or­der to se­cure ad­mis­sion into col­leges. The need of the hour is to change that present sys­tem of No De­ten­tion for the ben­e­fit of the pupils and lay stress on ba­sic un­der­stand­ing of con­cepts in or­der to train the stu­dents for tougher chal­lenges ahead in their lives.

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