Responding to the Centre’s query on the no-detention policy that enabled automatic promotion of students up to Class 8, a large number of states wrote back this week giving their approval to revoke the decision of the United Progressive Alliance government.
The HRD ministry has so far received responses from 14 states and barring Karnataka, all others have requested scrapping the no-detention policy. Among those that want the policy scrapped include Bihar, MP, Haryana, Tripura, UP, Delhi and Uttarakhand, while the ministry expects the remaining states to follow suit.
Although there was near consensus on the move at the meeting of Central Advisory Board of Education (CABE), the highest decision-making body, in August, the Centre had asked the states to give their consent in writing. HRD minister Smriti Irani had at the time said that there was “unanimous cry” from every state to revoke the no-fail policy as well as to bring the Class 10 board examination back.
The demand, however, is not without opposition. Speaking to HT, Karnataka primary education minister Kimmane Rathnakar said scrapping the no-detention policy goes against the core principle behind free and compulsory education.
“If we start failing students, a majority of who are struggling against odds to stay in school, then the risk of dropouts increases tremendously. I will meet with the CM soon and discuss the legal options to reject the proposal, which might not be easy given that the subject is on the concurrent list,” he said.
A key component of the Right to Education Act, the no-detention policy was enforced on April 1, 2010 with an aim to ensure that every child between the age of six and 14 studied in school.
However, the decision had attracted criticism from both parents and teachers who were concerned about the deteriorating standard of education. In 2012, a CABE committee headed by then Haryana education minister Geeta Bhukkal too had recommended scrapping the policy as it affected “learning outcomes.”