The state government has taken a clear stand that it supports the policy to not fail any student up to Class 8, as mandated in the Right to Education Act.
Department of State Education Research and Training (DSERT) director H S Ramarao told Express: ‘’The no-detention clause (which ensures the student is not failed or held back till Class 8) acts as a catalyst for implementation of Karnataka’s continuous and comprehensive evaluation (CCE) model.” He made an elaborate presentation on the issue at a Ministry of Human Resources meeting on CCE and the no-detention policy on May 31, in New Delhi. Section 29(2)(h) of the RTE Act mandates implementation of CCE, which aims a shift from the examination methods to regular assessment of classroom learning.
“There are two types of learning deficiencies that we find in children - periodical and cumulative - and we believe that these learning gaps can be filled by regular assessment of a child through the CCE,” Ramarao said.
The Karnataka CCE model is based on guidelines laid down by the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) and focuses on classroom processes, he added.
But, a Parliamentary Standing Committee on human resources development, in its report in April, asked the ministry to rethink on this policy to automatically upgrade students.
“A child may not be mature enough to understand the implications of his being required to sit for formal examination from Class 9 onwards and obtain the minimum benchmarks,” the Committee report said.
K V Bhat, a government primary school teacher for 20 years, said this policy would diminish academic seriousness in children in the long run.
“As a teacher, I feel the policy is okay till Class 4. From there on, children need to have exam seriousness rather than having it easy.”
Government primary schools have Nali-Kali from Classes 1-3, where one teacher combines all three classes to teach children through play. “We already find it tough to get their attention in class. Imagine if they know they will not fail at all,’’ he contended.
Primary and secondary education secretary G Kumar Naik said: “Good or bad, we are in the process of implementing CCE. We feel, without giving a good try to CCE, there is no point in objecting to no-detention.”
There is currently not much clarity on how many government schools follow CCE. Ramarao said: “There are 1.81 lakh primary teachers. It is almost impossible to quantify how many of them have adopted CCE.”
Bhat pointed out that the CCE was quite cumbersome to implement: “Without enough janitors, we also have to look at general maintenance, mid-day meals among other things. The CCE has 10-15 formats that we need to fill for each child on learning, reading, writing and other parametres, which means more workload. We hear students say that teachers are always writing.”