A ministerial panel on national education policy has recommended altering the current no-detention policy introduced by the UPA government in schools, and suggested that students be screened at the Class 5 and 8 levels.
“We have given our recommendations on the no-detention policy to 22 states, of which 18 have agreed to the change. We have recommended detaining students in Class 5 and Class 8 only,” said Vasudev Devnani, primary education minister of Rajasthan, who heads the panel of state ministers on the new national education policy being formulated by the HRD ministry.
For this to happen, the Centre will have to amend the Right To Education law — which prescribes the no-detention policy for students till Class 8. After obtaining a consensus from the Central Advisory Board of Education, HRD minister Smriti Irani had asked the states to provide their views on the matter.
A key component of the RTE Act, the no-detention policy was enforced on April 1, 2010, with the intention of ensuring that every child between the age of six and 14 gets a school education.
Devnani said that while students of other classes will not be detained, schools will have to ensure that they clear a committee-recommended state-level test. The student will get a chance to re-appear if he or she fails at the first try, but if even the second attempt comes a cropper, supplementary classes will have to be provided by the school.
“If a student fails to clear the learning level, he or she would have to appear for a re-test within a month. We will not detain students till Class 4, but it will be done if they fail in Class 5,” the state minister said.
A survey conducted by Pratham, a non-governmental organisation, found that the educational standards of students up to the upper primary level at the country’s government schools have fallen in the last eight years, especially in English and Math.