Punjab education minister Daljit Singh Cheema on Friday said that the state favoured detaining students only if they failed a second chance to clear the exams.
The present Right To Education Act does not allow detaining students upto class VIII, irrespective of his or her performance. This has come in for a lot of criticism of late especially after board examinations in classes X and XII with many blaming the policy for the student’s lack of clarity in concepts.
Speaking to The Indian Express, Cheema said, “We want that there has to be some check on teachers as well as students. We want exams and then if student fails to clear it, there should be a supplementary exam. It is only after student fails to clear that too, he/she should be detained.”
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Cheema is also the head of an multi-state sub-committee to study problems of government schools under Central Advisory Board of Education (CABE) formed August last year. The committee will be submitting its report to the ministry of human resource development soon.
“Most states are worried that exams and detention might increase dropout rate,” he said. “Odisha is particularly worried about tribal students as they hardly join schools. Karnataka also expressed issues over drop out rate. But most of states want to re-start exams. However, debate is still on if the child should be detained or not.”
On Punjab opposing the no-detention policy, Cheema said that ‘Continuous Comprehensive Evaluation (CCE) prescribed under RTE was taken for granted by teachers and students both.’
“With introduction of SCERT exams, neither we are violating RTE as students are not being failed or detained and at the same time weak ones are being identified,” said Cheema.
Under CCE, the schools at their own level were internally assessing students. But under Learning Outcome Evaluation System (LOES), introduced in Punjab earlier this year, final exams of classes V and VIII in March were held in external centers, question papers set by SCERT and evaluation at cluster level, thereby ensuring that a teacher does not evaluate his or her own student. Given to write 100 marks papers, their scores were also not revealed to parents but only grades. Of A to E grade, those who got ‘E’ are made to attend extra classes.
“Both students and teachers cannot be allowed to adopt completely non-serious and taken for granted attitude. CCE has been a complete failure,” said Cheema.
On July 18, 2014 the Punjab Vidhan Sabha passed unanimous resolution demanding restarting examinations to classes V and VIII exams.
In a major step, Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal, in a letter dated May 27, 2015 wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi stating that ‘two provisions of RTI act – that no child shall be held back and would not require to clear any exam till completion of elementary education – have resulted in deterioration of stage specific learning of the children.’