RTE Act amendment: States against diluting no-fail policy can maintain status quo

The Cabinet on Tuesday approved the HRD Ministry’s proposal to permit states to fail students in Class V and Class VIII as opposed to the current provision of the law (Section 16), which prohibits them from detaining children up to Class VIII.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi | Published:August 5, 2017 4:04 am
right to education, right to education amendment, rte act, no-detention clause, right to education detention, education news, indian express news In the amended law, states will be allowed to hold an annual examination in March for Class V and Class VIII based on which they can hold a non-performing child back. (Source: File Photo)

The Union cabinet’s decision to dilute the no-detention policy under the Right to Education (RTE) Act does not deter states from maintaining status quo, sources in the government clarified on Friday. This means that states such as Tamil Nadu, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, which are against detaining students up to Class VIII, are free to continue this practice. The amendment to Section 16 of the Act, as drafted by the HRD Ministry, leaves the final decision to the state governments, said sources.

The Cabinet on Tuesday approved the HRD Ministry’s proposal to permit states to fail students in Class V and Class VIII as opposed to the current provision of the law (Section 16), which prohibits them from detaining children up to Class VIII. This decision was taken after 23 states urged the Centre to modify the no-detention policy, holding it responsible for poor learning outcomes and students and teachers becoming irresponsible. In August 2016, the Central Advisory Board for Education (CABE), the highest body advising Centre and states on education, had also passed a resolution calling for scrapping of this clause.

“Section 16 would have achieved its purpose if the teachers on the ground had evaluated students continuously. But that did not happen. With promotion up to Class VIII becoming mandatory, teachers became irresponsible and schools were reduced to serving mid-day meals,” said a source. Cabinet scraps no-detention clause in RTE, Class VI-VIII students can fail again. Click here to read.

In the amended law, states will be allowed to hold an annual examination in March for Class V and Class VIII based on which they can hold a non-performing child back. However, no student can be failed unless she is given a second chance to pass another exam in May. Between the two examinations, the student will be provided remedial coaching.

However, even though the amendment dilutes Section 16, schools will not be permitted to expel the child irrespective of how many times he/she fails in Class V and VIII, added government sources. “Expulsion goes against the spirit of the law and won’t be allowed,” the source added.

“So, states are free to decide if they want to maintain status quo or detain children. If they decide to detain, they can only fail them in Class V and Class VIII,” said another source. The larger purpose of Section 16 of RTE Act was to ensure compulsory education up to the age of 14 and check dropout rate, especially in rural schools. The ministry is expected to bring the amendment Bill next week. The RTE Act came into effect in 2010. It is not applicable to Jammu and Kashmir.

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