Context:

  • Scrapping the no-detention policy, one of the most controversial features of the Right to Education Act, is a first step towards in preventing and mending some of its worst consequences.

Explanation:

  • The Union cabinet on 2nd August, 2017 has agreed to scrap of the no-detention clause in the Right to Education (RTE) Act.
  • Amending this provision, which was proposed by the HRD ministry, will enable states to detain students in class V-VIII if they fail in the year-end exam.
  • The student will be first given an additional chance to clear the exam, for which they will also be provided with coaching.

The Constitutional provision safeguarding the Right to education

  • The 86thamendment of the constitution in India in 2002 got inserted Article 21-A
  • The amendment declares a free and compulsory education for all the children between 6 to 14 years old.
  • This article made education a fundamental right for every child.
  • The right to education (RTE) Act, 2009 under article 21-A, means that every child has the right to study in the school in a proper way such that it must satisfy essential rules and regulations.
  • Article 21-A and RTE Act came into force on 1st April, 2010.
  • The RTE Act basically supports and encourages “free and compulsory” education.
  • Here, free education means that none of the child is allowed to pay any fee or any kind of charges for completing and getting education except for the child whose parents are there who are capable of paying fees and affording all other kinds of expenses for their child related to studies.
  • And compulsory education means that it is the duty of the government and concerning local authorities to check for proper attendance of the students, to ensure proper admission and also to take care for the fulfillment of fundamental education of every child.

Salient features of Right To Education Act, 2009:

The Right to Education (RTE) Act, consist of the following measures-

  • Every child has the fundamental right to free and compulsory education.
  • The RTE act makes rules for the non-admitted students to be admitted at a proper age to the specified class.
  • It specifies different responsibilities to the local authorities and government to ensure to provide free and compulsory education.
  • It also lays down rules regarding Pupil Teacher Ratios (PTRs).
  • Pupil–teacher ratio or student–faculty ratio is the number of students who attend a school or university divided by the number of teachers in the institution. For example:
  • A student–teacher ratio of 10:1 indicates that there are 10 students for every 1 teacher.
  • It also ensures that the employment of every teacher whether in urban or in rural areas is in a balanced way, and should maintain a proper ratio.
  • It also lay down rules for maintaining the infrastructure of the schools, proper working hours for the teachers etc.
  • It also suggests employing trained and well-educated teachers

Current Scenario:

No-Detention Policy:

  • Since the introduction of the RTE, the learning outcomes of children have come down dramatically.
  • As per the latest Annual Status of Education Report (ASER), in 2010, 53.7 percent of standard V students in rural India could read standard II level text.
  • By 2016, this had fallen to 47.8 percent. The fall was greater in case of government schools. In 2010, it had stood at 50.7 percent and by 2016 this had fallen to 41.6 percent.
  • Hence, only around two out of every five standard V students can read standard II level text, in rural India.
  • The NDP has been found to be accountable by the comptroller and auditor general as well as the Central Advisory Board of Education for this failure.

In support of NDP:

  • Supporters of NDP claim that:
  • The objective of the policy was to keep students in school and prevent dropouts and in that, it has succeeded.
  • The policy has been successfully deployed in countries known for their high-quality education systems, such as Finland and Japan., but wasn’t properly implemented in India.
  • There is no research evidence to suggest that the repeating a year helps children perform better rather it leads to more dropouts from the system. Research does say that repeating has adverse academic and social effects on the child.
  • There is a common misconception that no-detention means no assessment.
  • CCE is the assessment system under RTE and it should go hand in hand with no-detention policy.
  • CCE allows for assessment of students on non-cognitive and non-academic areas of learning.
  • Thus, a child need not be failed just because of non-performance on a narrowly defined and rigid set of indicators.
  • There are assumptions that students can only learn under the threat of failure.
  • The failure of a child is the failure of the system as a whole, rather than that of the child.

The drawbacks:

What is the point of students staying in school if they are barely learning anything at all?

  • RTE’s biggest drawback is its heavy focus on inputs while effectively ignoring outputs.
  • Data shows that even poor parents prefer to send their children to budget private schools instead of government schools which are free because.
  • Studies also have shown private schools are more cost-effective than government schools and deliver slightly better learning outcomes.
  • The RTE has a debilitating impact on budget-private schools which catered to a large number of poor students.
  • Many such schools, which barely charged a few hundred rupees in student fees, have been shuttered since they could no longer afford the RTE requirements.
  • NDP has erased the fear of studying well absolutely from the minds of students as they may take promotion for granted.

Inefficiency of government schools:

  • The Right to Education Act, which Karnataka started implementing from 2012, completed five years on May 19, 2017.
  • But experts and RTE activists believe the system has failed in championing equal education. The multiple reasons which deter children from joining government schools are as follows:
  • The implementation seems to be focused only on Section 19, which mandates free and fair education up to class 8, and ignores other important sections dealing with provisions that schools need to have.
  • Parents are unaware of not only the provisions but the act itself. They are promised quality education and basic facilities, which aren’t available in government schools, but once they join private institutions, they are still made to pay excessively for activities that aren’t even conducted.
  • In the five years of RTE in Karnataka, 3 lakh children have depended on the act to gain admission to government schools.
  • While the education department prides itself on this number, it shows the inefficiency of government schools, which has resulted in parents depending on admission to private schools.

Suggestions:

  • To deliver better learning outcomes what is needed is a radical reorientation of the way things are taught in schools across this country.
  • The poor learning outcomes of schools are caused by many factors of learning. One of them is the pupil-teacher ratio. Until the desired pupil-teacher ratio is achieved, it is unreasonable to expect CCE and NDP to succeed.
  • Teacher training must be revised in line with the requirements of CCE. Instead of strengthening the foundation to implement the reforms, bringing back the old pass-fail system threatens to undermine the egalitarian promise of the RTE.
  • There can be many other coherent methods to increase the enrollment rate and contract the drop-out rates. Scholarships, fiscal incentives to the parent, awareness drives are some of the plausible options that the state can choose

 

 

 

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