Thirty per cent weightage to attendance in classes V and VIII; co-curricular activities; and parents’ attendance in parent-teacher meetings were among recommendations made by a committee formed to amend no-detention rules in the capital.
Earlier this year, the no-detention policy of the Right to Education Act (RTE), 2009, was amended through a parliamentary bill, stating that a child who fails a regular examination at the end of classes V and VIII will take a re-examination. The relevant central or state governments were asked to decide if they will allow schools to detain children who fail the re-examination.
The committee in question was formed to make recommendations on its implementation, and help the Delhi government amend the Delhi Right to Education Rules. The 13-member panel comprises academics, education policy makers and representatives from private, government and municipal schools.
The committee has recommended changing the assessment model so children are assessed on a variety of criteria apart from standard testing. This includes 15% for attendance; 10% for participation in co-curricular activities like dance, theatre, debates, sports, community service and Olympiads; and 5% based on the attendance of any one of the student’s guardians in PTMs. One member expressed reservations on the last point as it penalises children for a parent’s actions.
The 70% of assessment on the basis of testing is recommended to be broken into three parts — 10% based on minimum competency to be attained at primary and upper primary levels; 30% based on ‘generic assessment’ through questions on a passage, picture or diagram from each subject; and 30% based on standard subject-wise testing as is practiced in schools. This recommended overhaul brings only 30% weightage of assessment to current testing practices.
The committee recommended that if a child gets below 40% in class V or VIII in assessment on these lines, they are to be allowed a re-examination within two months after declaration of results. The recommended re-assessment is to be on the 70% based on testing. If the child gets below 40% overall again, they are to repeat the class again.
The committee had based its recommendations on observations that the pass percentage in class IX in Delhi government schools had been steadily declining over the years after introduction of the no-detention policy in 2011-2012.
In 2012-2013, the number of children passing in class IX registered a sharp decline from 89% to 55.96%. According to the committee’s report, the root causes were tied to the no-detention policy since it brought down student motivation, parental investment, reduced the significance of assessment in the eyes of all stakeholders, and placed the focus of teachers too firmly on class IX and X while reducing their accountability with regard to elementary classes.
The recommendations have been forwarded to the RTE State Advisory Council, and the government will decide whether, and to what degree, they will take these into account while amending the rules.