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‘Should students be promoted under RTE even if they don’t attend school?’

What is the rationale behind the no-detention policy under the Right to Education (RTE) Act, 2009?

mumbai Updated: Jun 25, 2015 23:11 IST
HT Correspondent

What is the rationale behind the no-detention policy under the Right to Education (RTE) Act, 2009? Is it about attending school or just promoting students even if they don’t, the Maharashtra State Commission for Protection of Child Rights asked on Thursday, seeking a notification from the state education department on whether students who have not attended school for a long time, too, can be promoted to the next class.

The commission was, on Thursday, hearing a review petition in a case reported at a school in Kandivli. The school had asked Durva Motewar, 13, to repeat Class 5 because she was absent from August 28, 2013 to March 28, 2014, as her parents had to attend a court case in Nanded. While the school refused to promote her, the girl’s parents, too, did not enrol her to another school. HT had reported on the incident on October 9, 2014.

The secretary of the commission, AN Tripathi, pulled up the education department for issuing an order last year, asking the school to promote the child despite her prolonged absence, citing the RTE Act. “We get several cases each year, where parents fight with schools over the no-detention policy. It is important to note that the RTE Act is not only about not failing a child, but also about attending school,” said Tripathi.

The commission asked the department to come up with a detailed notification within seven days on the basis of the Motewar case. “Is keeping the child at home equivalent to sending [her] to school. If that’s the case, the department should issue Class 8 certificates to everyone, including street children and child labourers, even if they don’t go to school,” said Tripathi.

“The department should think whether the policy can be applicable to all situations. Can the school be expected to promote children irrespective of their attendance? The Motewar case can set a precedent for such disputes. The department should seek suggestions from education experts too,” said Tripathi, directing Pratibha Salian, assistant deputy education officer, west zone, to include answers to the five questions posed by the commission, in the submission during the next hearing.

In the Motewar case, Tripathi asked the school to decide on promoting the girl on the basis of evaluation. “It is up to the management to decide the procedure -- they can either give her a test or any other evaluation to check if the child can be promoted to a higher class,” said Tripathi. “But all stakeholders should come together and work out a solution. The department should also call experts for their suggestions.”

THE CHILD COMMISSION HEARING

The school had asked Durva Motewar, 13, to repeat Class 5 because she was absent from August 28, 2013 to March 28, 2014, as her parents had to attend a court case in Nanded

While the school refused to promote her, the girl’s parents, too, did not enroll her to another school

The secretary of the Maharashtra State Commission for Protection of Child Rights, AN Tripathi, has now asked the school to decide on promoting the girl on the basis of evaluation

“It is up to the management to decide the procedure -- they can either give her a test or any other evaluation to check if the child can be promoted to a higher class. But all stakeholders should come together and work out a solution. The department should also call experts for their suggestions,” said Tripathi.