NEW DELHI: The Narendra Modi government is all set to bring back the detention system in schools, something that the UPA regime had put an end to. The Centre is convinced that the quality of education has gone down in the country, and so has decided to amend the Right to Education [RTE] Act to make children repeat a class if they do not clear the annual examination.
The Centre favours an amendment that allows examination-based promotion from class 5 onwards. The RTE Act currently does not allow failing of students till class 8.
The Centre claims that all state governments have come on board against the no-detention policy contained in the RTE Act. “MHRD [the Ministry of Human Resources Development] will pilot a bill to amend the RTE Act to re-introduce annual examinations in schools. State governments have indicated they favour the change,” a top government source said.
The RTE Act amendment may be moved in the upcoming winter session of Parliament, commencing from November 16.
The RTE Act was enacted when Kapil Sibal was the minister for human resources development. Its prime movers were education NGOs and the the National Advisory Council [NAC) headed by Congress president Sonia Gandhi.
“The whole premise of the no-detention policy is flawed as it lays emphasis on learning outcomes that in practice never come to be on account of the lack of a framework to measure them at the school level. State governments, including those headed by non-BJP parties, have argued that the no-detention policy has adversely affected the quality of education,” the source added.
“The worst impact of the no-detention policy has been seen in rural areas where the primary function of schools has become the mid-day meal. Teachers too have not been showing interest in imparting quality education to children,” said the source.
The HRD minister Prakash Javdekar is learnt to have spoken to chief ministers of most of the states in his bid to co-opt them in this bid to change the RTE Act. “The chief ministers have expressed their support to the move. There is a larger political consensus on the issue even though a few in civil society may continue to support continuation of the no-detention policy,” added the source.