Detention policy – Pros & Cons Of Detention Policy in India -As per the current education system in India, all the students up till Class 8 will automatically be promoted to next class. No one can be failed as per the Right to Education Act. This is known as the ‘No-Detention Policy‘.

An expert committee headed by T S R Subramanian set up to formulate the new National Education Policy had last year recommended that the ‘No-Detention Policy’ be reviewed and exams are held from Class VI. Recently, Union Cabinet has approved the scrapping of the no-detention policy in schools till Class VIII.

In this article, we discuss if the no-detention policy should be scrapped from the next academic year. Has the no-detention policy negatively impacted the quality of basic education in the country? Let’s see.

Detention policy – Pros & Cons Of Detention Policy in India

What is ‘No-Detention’ policy?

  • As per the No-Detention Policy under the Right to Education Act, no student can be failed or expelled from school till the completion of elementary education covering classes 1 to 8. All the students up till Class 8 will automatically be promoted to next class.
  • The essence of the policy is that children should not be ‘failed’ and detained up to Class 8. There are no “examinations” in the narrow traditional sense of the word up to Class 8. Instead, the Act mandates a process of Continuous and Comprehensive Evaluation (CCE) to assess and evaluate the student’s learning.

The Right To Education (RTE) Act

  • The Constitution (Eighty-sixth Amendment) Act, 2002 inserted Article 21-A in the Constitution of India to provide free and compulsory education of all children in the age group of six to fourteen years as a Fundamental Right in such a manner as the State may, by law, determine.
  • It means that every child has a right to full-time elementary education of satisfactory and equitable quality in a formal school which satisfies certain essential norms and standards.
  • It came into effect on 1 April 2010.

The RTE Act provides for:

  • Every child in the age group of 6-14 has the right to free and compulsory education in a neighbourhood school, till the completion of elementary education.
  • Private schools will have to take 25% of their class strength from the weaker section and the disadvantaged group of the society through a random selection process. The government will fund the education of these children.
  • No donation and capitation fee is allowed.
  • No admission test or interview either for child or parents.
  • No child can be held back, expelled and required to pass the board examination till the completion of elementary education.
  • There is provision for the establishment of commissions to supervise the implementation of the act.
  • A fixed student and teacher ratio is to be maintained.
  • All schools have to adhere to rules and regulations laid down in this act, failing which the school will not be allowed to function. Three years moratorium period has been provided to school to implement all that is required of them.
  • Norms for teachers training and qualifications are also clearly mentioned in the act.
  • All schools except private unaided schools are to be managed by School Management Committees with 75% of parents and guardians as members.

What is Detention Policy :-

  • As per detention policy, Students who are failed in the annual exams will not be promoted to the next class.

Detention Policy in Indian Education system :-

  • When ‘Right to Education (RTE), 2009‘ act came into force, detention policy was brought to an end. To provide compulsory education to children aged 6 to 14, and to reduce the number of drop outs, no-detention policy was introduced from 1st to 8th class. So from 2009, students are being promoted to the next class till 8th standard irrespective of their results in the annual exams.
  • “The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (second amendment) Bill, 2017” amended section 16 of RTE (Right to Education) act that deals with the no-detention policy.
  • With the amendment, common exams will be conducted for 5th and 8th class students.
  • There will be supplementary exams for those who fail in these exams.
  • If they couldn’t make it in the supplementary exams too, they will be held-back in the same classes and will not be promoted to the next class.

Pros of Detention Policy :-

  • Detention policy creates fear and seriousness about education in students and teachers. Students will study well to crack the annual exams, and teachers will take the responsibility to make their students capable of getting promoted to the next class. Thereby the quality of education will be improved.
  • As per ‘National achievement survey’ which was done from 2012 to 2015, many 5th class students are not able to read their text books, some are not able to understand the content, and some children are not able to do basic math. According to ‘Annual Status of Education Report’ (ASER), 2017, many high school students (14-18 years) are not able to do basic math, cannot read a simple English sentence, cannot understand the content in their mother tongue, and some cannot even tell the time by watching at clock. This is all because they were promoted to next class irrespective of their results.
  • As everyone was treated equal, there was no distinction between the students who work-hard and those who didn’t. Hence no-detention policy doesn’t encourage hard work, whereas detention policy encourages and rewards seriousness about studies.

Cons of Detention Policy :-

  • Detention policy doesn’t guarantee improvement in quality of education as long as exams can be passed by byhearting the content. Exams should assess the overall development of students.
  • Detention policy will increase the number of drop outs. Drop outs percentage was 10% in 2005-06 academic year, whereas it was 4% in 2015-16 academic year. The major reason for this success can be attributed to no-detention policy.
  • The reason for the lack of quality education in India is not just no-detention policy, many schools in India do not have qualified teachers, basic facilities and infrastructure. Teachers retraining at regular intervals is not followed at all. All these things results in the decreasing quality of education. Punishing children for this by not promoting them to the next class will be our society’s failure.
  • Detention policy will create stress in students. Many private schools put too much pressure on students to get good grades so that they can market their schools by showing off their ranks and marks. We are witnessing student suicides as a result of this pressure. Children of primary schools will also have to undergo this stress due to detention policy.

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