While leading academics have opposed the recommendation of a Parliamentary panel to rethink the clause providing for automatic promotion of students from classes I to VIII under the Right to Education Act; teachers, parents and students are divided over the issue. While a section of teachers was of the opinion that the no-detention clause may spoil students as it gives them confidence of getting promoted even if they do not study, parents are against reviewing the policy.
“The examination system was replaced for lower classes to avoid panic among students and to free them from the exam fever. Failure generally demoralises students. An assessment of students’ performance is welcome but it should not be for the purpose of detaining them. Children should be equipped to overcome their flaws once they are promoted,” felt Manimohan, president, Students Welfare Association of Parents. “The system of marks and competition damages the students mentally and it may lead to harassment in classes,” he added.
Murugan, whose son Adityan is studying in Class VI of a leading school in Coimbatore, however, felt that “quality of studies would come down if exams are not there. Though students are learning through activities I am of the belief that exams should be there to determine promotions.”
A senior Education Department official seemed to agree. “I started to witness worst students in classes only after the RTE Act came into force. No student studies well unless there is exam and assessment. If you ask me I may advice giving two – three chances for students to pass exams. They will study the content once they are told that they could go further only after clearing all papers,” the official said.
Sankaranarayanan, principal of Mani HSS in Coimbatore suggested students with dyslexia or slow learners should alone be considered for automatic promotion. Chandrika, a teacher said, “Under the RTE Act even students who do not attend classes are promoted.