The Right to Education (RTE) Act that entitled all children aged between six and 14 years not only free and compulsory education but also a right to be promoted without detention till Class VIII has now come under adverse scrutiny.
A Parliamentary Committee last week urged the Union Ministry of Human Resource Development to rethink the policy of automatic promotions till Class VIII arguing that students may not be motivated to work hard if there was no fear of detention. The panel had in its report tabled in the Parliament, said: “A child may not be mature enough to understand the implication of being required to sit for formal examination from Class IX onwards and obtain the minimum benchmark.”
However, educationists in the State are opposing the Parliamentary Committee’s suggestion against promoting students. According to them, detention in a class in no way offers solution to the problem faced by students and the system has to take the responsibility of fall in standard of a student and not the student himself.
Citing a few lines from the famous work of John Hood that ‘Children never fails but it is the teacher who fails,’ well-known educationist S S Rajagopalan delved into the core reasons behind the issue. “You cannot detain a student citing that he has not scored the required marks. It is scientifically proven that everyone is educable and if one couldn’t score marks isn’t the system responsible? Group learning is being encouraged under the present system. If it does not work, it means that proper learning hasn’t taken place. There are many issues to be dealt with like poor standard of teaching, overloaded school curriculum and lack of monitoring of schools by officials. Setting a better climate for learning is the need of the hour,” he said.
Talking vehemently against detaining of students in lower classes, educationist and former Manonmaniam Sundaranar University Vice Chancellor Vasanthi Devi said teachers should make students read, draw, and study instead.
“If you look forward to teach them by threatening (them with detention), it won’t work. Teachers should generate interests in students to study so that one need not resort to threatening. Even after the implementation of RTE Act many teachers intimidate children to score better. Construction of a better learning environment is what we require and there is no fault with the system we have today except flaws in its implementation,” she argued.
When asked about the case of absentees getting promoted through the system she countered: “Why are the students absent if the classes are interesting? We should make them learn properly. We can’t talk about students dropping out to take up work as they are one-off cases,” she said.