Critically analyse the philosophy behind the no detention policy under...

  Dec 26, 2016

Critically analyse the philosophy behind the no detention policy under the Right to Education. Is the dropping of the policy the right remedy for the deteriorating learning outcomes in the schools?

The Central Advisory Board for Education (CABE) recommended dropping no-detention policy. This controversial policy is widely being blamed for deteriorating learning levels across schools in India.

Section 16 of the RTE mandates that no child can be detained in a class until the completion of his/her elementary education. The corollary of this is continuous and comprehensive evaluation prescribed in Section 29 (h).It is aimed a progressive and holistic evaluation framework, enunciated in the National Policy on Education, 1986 and also the National Curriculum Framework, 2005. The reasons for NDP are: Examinations are often used for eliminating children who obtain poor marks. Once declared ‘fail’, children either repeat grade or leave the school altogether. Compelling a child to repeat a class is demotivating and discouraging.NDP and CCE are based on sound principles of pedagogy and assessment, recognised world-wide. They are thus a welcome change to the exam-centric culture prevalent in Indian schools. There are also very strong equity considerations behind the NDP policy, especially for children from low-income families, and girls. Failure for these children implies dropping out. Besides, research evidence indicates that detention of students by a year or more does not improve learning. Geeta Bhukkal Committee admits it.

However, after the RTE was enacted ,learning outcomes continued to dip, the NDP and CCE policies came under attack; students become lackadaisical as there is no longer a fear of failure, parents are no longer strict with their children, teachers are struggling to maintain discipline, attendance has dropped and so forth. Schools complained of poor performance in class IX because of students becoming used to automatic promotions. Geeta Bhukkal committee reported that no-detention demotivates students, and increases the burden on teachers.

However, poor learning outcomes are the product of many factors: stipulated pupil-teacher ratio (PTR) did not prevail; acute shortage of qualified teachers; Teacher training programmes must be revised in line with the requirements of CCE. These issues need to be addressed for learning outcomes and the blame should not be put at the doorstep of the NDP only.