Right to Education Act Amendment: Scrapping No-Detention Policy

No-detention policy that prohibits schools from detaining students till they complete elementary education will be scrapped as Lok Sabha has passed on Wednesday July 18, 2018 an amendment to the Right to Education Act; the states can now choose to hold a regular examination either at the end of Classes V and VIII, or both. Students who fail this test will get additional instruction and opportunity to appear for a re-examination within two months of the declaration of the result. If the students still do not pass the exam, the state government may decide to detain them.

Right to Education Act (RTE) or Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act enacted on 4 August 2009, described the modalities of the importance of free and compulsory education for children between the ages of 6 to 14 years under Article 21A of the Indian Constitution. Section 16 of RTE Act, 2009 stipulated that ‘No child admitted in a school shall be held back in any class or expelled from school till the completion of elementary education’. The policy covered elementary stage of schooling covering classes 1 to 8:

  • No-detention policy was implemented together with continuous assessment, which would help identify learning deficiencies and correct them.
  • No-detention policy is successful in a sense, that universalisation of enrolment of children at the elementary level has nearly been achieved, in nine years since the launch of the RTE.
  • However, education system has failed to provide continuous assessment and so the government is falling back on examinations and detention, which can lead to students becoming discouraged and higher dropout rates.

A Sub-Committee was constituted for assessment of implementation of Continuous and Comprehensive Evaluation (CCE) in the context of No-Detention provision in the RTE Act, 2009, in pursuance of a resolution adopted in the 59th meeting of the Central Advisory Board of Education (CABE) held on 6th June, 2012. The Sub-Committee submitted its report in August, 2014. The report of the Sub-Committee was placed before CABE in its meeting held on 19.8.2015, wherein it was decided to request all States/UTs to share their views on the No-Detention policy. 28 States have shared their views on the No Detention policy out of which 23 States have suggested modification to the No Detention policy.

Another Sub-Committee under the Chairpersonship of Prof. Vasudev Devnani, Minister of Education, Government of Rajasthan was constituted on 26.10.2015 inter-alia, to review the feedback received from States/UTs on the ‘No-Detention’ policy, in pursuance of the decision taken in the CABE Committee meeting held on 19.8.2016,.The recommendations of the Committee were as under:

  • There should be an examination at Class 5. It should be left to the States and UTs to decide whether this exam will be at the school, block, District or State Level.
  • If a child fails then allow the child an opportunity to improve.
  • There should be additional instruction provided to children and the child should be given an opportunity to sit for another exam. If the child is unable to pass the exam in the second chance, then detain the child.
  • At Classes 6 and 7, there should be a school based exam for students.
  • At Class 8, there should be an external exam. In case the child fails, the child should be given additional instruction and then appear for an improvement exam.
  • If fails again then detain.

Some educationists are of the opinion that, if the aim is to improve learning outcomes in children there are other specific provisions such as, maintaining a good pupil-teacher ratio, proper infrastructure like all-weather buildings, barrier-free access in schools, separate toilets for boys and girls that are pertinent measures to improve qualitative standards should be enshrined in the RTE, along with the policy changes,


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