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School notes: Experts disagree on scrapping of no-detention policy in state

In 2010, the no-detention policy was introduced under the Right to Education (RTE) Act, 2009

mumbai Updated: Nov 01, 2016 23:24 IST
Puja Pednekar
Puja Pednekar
Hindustan Times
No-detention policy,RTE Act,Central Advisory Board of Education
Under the no-detention policy, schools cannot fail students from Class 1 to Class 8.(HT file photo)

The no-detention policy, which allows for automatic promotion of students till Class 8, might soon be scrapped in Maharashtra. While some educators said that the move will result in more students failing the class and dropping out of school, others felt it will get students serious about exams.

In a meeting last week, the Central Advisory Board of Education (CABE) recommended that implementation of the policy should be left at the states’ discretion.

In 2010, the no-detention policy was introduced under the Right to Education (RTE) Act, 2009. It stipulated that schools cannot fail students from Class 1 to Class 8. However, the draft new education policy has proposed limiting the no-detention policy to lower classes.

A panel set up by state education minister Vinod Tawde had recommended withdrawing the policy, but insisted on re-exams in Class 5 and Class 8. “Schools will be directed to provide remedial support and conduct supplementary exams for students failing the year,” said Tawde.

“The no-detention policy has created a wrong culture of promoting students irrespective of their academic performance. Owing to the policy, teachers, parents and students developed a laidback attitude towards academics,” said Vidyadhar Amrute, retired professor, Sathaye College, Vile Parle and member of the Mumbai geography teachers association.

Some school principals said students have been finding it tough to cope with the Class 9 syllabus, as they have got used to not taking exams. However, according to some educators, the situation was no different even before the no-detention policy was introduced.

“It’s a fact that students are not taking studies seriously till Class 8 because of the no-detention policy and end up struggling in Class 9. But the policy cannot be blamed for the high number of students failing Class 9,” said Father Francis Swamy, joint secretary of the Archdiocesan Board of Education, that runs 150-odd schools in the city.

Other educators said that such a policy is required as it will protect children from the stigma of failure. Basanti Roy, convenor of Shikshan Katta, an education forum, said, “The effects of failing a child are worse than that of promoting him to a higher class even though he didn’t pass the exam.”

“The student carries the failure tag throughout his life,” said Roy, the former divisional secretary of Maharashtra state board.

According to some academicians, the policy is not able to have the desired impact because it has been wrongly implemented in schools. Rekha Vijayakar, director, ADAPT-Able Disable All People Together, said, “Schools blindly promote academically weak children instead of holding remedial classes for them.”

First Published: Nov 01, 2016 23:24 IST