The state directive that students cannot be failed until Class 8 met with a mixed response from schools.
While some schools are awaiting a formal notification, others aren’t convinced if promoting all students is a good thing. “Parents work closely with us and understand that if there is a need it is better for the child to repeat the year and get the basics right,” said Indu Mathur, principal of Apeejay School at Kharghar. She said there were very few students held back in middle and primary school at Apeejay. “We will wait and watch for the next session.”
Some schools are uncertain as to how to proceed. “We have not received any circular, but we will have to promote students if that is what the Right To Education (RTE) Act says,” said Alka Shelly, principal of Chandaramji High School, CP Tank. “The process will be finalised when the term reopens.”
International schools said RTE will not affect them as they do not fail students in any case, as a matter of policy. “The beauty of the IGCSE curriculum is that there was no repeating the year even before RTE,” said Husein Burhani, middle school co-coordinator, at DY Patil International School, Worli. “Even if students get Fs and Gs (both failing grades), they move to the next class.”
But not everyone is convinced. “I am not for it at all. If students’ foundation is strong in lower classes, only then will they do well in the higher classes,” said Thelma Dias, a primary teacher at Holy Name School, Colaba. “Children should understand that success is the fruit of hard work; there are no shortcuts.”