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States united against no-fail policy for schools

Education ministers and representatives from every state today pressed for revoking the no-detention policy till Class VIII and bringing back the system of performance based promotions that the Right To Education Act had done away with five years ago.

By Our Special Correspondent
  • Published 20.08.15
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New Delhi, Aug. 19: Education ministers and representatives from every state today pressed for revoking the no-detention policy till Class VIII and bringing back the system of performance based promotions that the Right To Education Act had done away with five years ago.

The meeting of the Central Advisory Board of Education (CABE) also heard suggestions to make Class X board exams compulsory.

Ministers from 19 states and representatives from others said the no-detention policy under the RTE Act was affecting the learning outcome among children.

They said a large number of schools in states had not been able to implement the system of Continuous and Comprehensive Evaluation (CCE) that the act had mandated to assess the scholastic and co-scholastic abilities of children in place of annual exams.

The result, they claimed, was that students, including those not serious about their studies, were getting automatic promotion without being properly assessed.

A panel set up by the CABE in 2012 had suggested a fresh look at the CCE system. Headed by former Haryana education minister Geeta Bhukkal, it had recommended a screening test at the end of Class III without the provision for detention.

It had suggested another test in Class V, when schools may or may not detain students based on their performance, and a final test at the end of Class VIII, which must be linked to promotions.

Today's meeting, chaired by human resource development minister Smriti Irani, discussed the panel's report.

"All the ministers appealed for revocation of the no-detention policy. The government of India thinks the states should give their views in writing, after which a decision will be taken," Irani said.

She asked the states to send their views in "15 days to one month".

Another demand that came up at the meeting was to make the Class X board exams compulsory. The Central Board of Secondary Education, India's largest school board, had made the exam optional.

Irani said this issue would be decided after the states give their views on the no-detention policy.

There was a proposal to extend the RTE Act to the senior secondary and pre-school levels. The act now covers Classes I to VIII. The CABE decided to re-constitute the panel that was looking into the issue.

Among other topics that came up was a new education policy, while a decision was taken to set up a panel to look into how out-of-school students could be re-engaged in schools.

The country's apex advisory body on education also decided to set up a panel to suggest ways to improve the standard of government schools.