Delhi govt, schools back Centre decision’s to scrap no-detention policy
On Wednesday, the Union cabinet decided that they would scrap this no detention policy, and students would have to clear exams in class 5 and 8 to be promoted to higher classes. These students would be given two chances to clear the exams.Updated: Aug 03, 2017, 23:55 IST
Manish Sisodia, the education minister of Delhi, wrote to the minister of human resource development (HRD) on Thursday, lauding the Union cabinet’s move to scrap the no detention policy as an “emergency measure.” However, in the same letter he also slammed the governments for implementing the policy as even though it was a good policy it was implemented “poorly and thoughtlessly.”
Under the Right to Education Act, students were automatically promoted to higher classes despite their performance until class 8. Though this was supposed to shield students from the stigma of failure, many students struggled once they reached the ninth grade and were expected to attempt exams and pass them for the first time.
On Wednesday, the Union cabinet decided that they would scrap this no detention policy, and students would have to clear exams in class 5 and 8 to be promoted to higher classes. These students would be given two chances to clear the exams.
“This decision (to scrap the no detention policy) was needed as an emergency measure to end the current crisis across the country, where academic standards of schools are rapidly deteriorating,” wrote Sisodia in his letter to Prakash Javadekar, the HRD minister of India.
This was echoed by school officials in Delhi as well, who said that students would be able to benefit from the move.
“This is definitely a positive move. It will help bring back some quality in education. Ultimately assessments, evaluations and examinations are a necessary part of education,” said Jyoti Arora, the principal of Mount Abu School, while adding that she had noticed some of her students struggled in Class 8 because of the policy.
According to BK Sharma, principal of Shaheed Hemu Kalani Sarvodaya Bal Vidyalaya, said that the no detention policy had resulted in a lack of accountability in certain schools.
“No detention policy cannot mean no teaching or no studying policy. However, this had happened in some places, because of which standards were not up to the mark in many schools,” he said.
Atishi Marlena, Sisodia’s advisor on education, said that the scrapping of the policy would help bring some accountability back into the system.
“Results were one count of accountability for teachers, parents and even students... Parents at government schools, especially those who may not have been highly educated, would be concerned with only if their child had passed or not. Many were not even aware how or why they were passing,” she said.
While on the one hand, the government praised the move, on the other hand they also slammed the government for failing to implement a “progressive education reform” effectively.
“The ‘no detention policy was a progressive education reform and it is unfortunate that we have had to roll it back. And the reason we have had to do this is because it was poorly and thoughtlessly implemented,” wrote Sisodia.
Marlena echoed Sisodia’s ideas and said that the government should have taken steps to change the curriculum to better suit the needs of children, rethink the assessment methods, and better train teachers before a ‘no detention policy’ could be implemented.
“We are considering some reforms in examination methods and questions at Delhi schools, and have set some model papers. We will try and encourage critical thinking, and move away from rote and memorisation. We will get the students to think about issues, rather than just learn things by heart,” said Marlena.