The Ministry of Human Resource Development is likely to either drop the no-detention policy of the UPA government or make substantive changes to it.
It is reliably learnt that the ministry has formed a panel which includes the education ministers of Maharashtra, Uttarakhand, Odisha, West Bengal, Arunachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Tamil Nadu.
The no-detention policy is part of the Right to Education Act passed by the UPA. Under the policy, no child can be failed before Class 8, regardless of academic performance. Instead of detaining students, the RTE formulated an alternative, “Continuous and Comprehensive Evaluation”.
The Central Advisory Board of Education had recommended earlier in August that the no-detention policy should be scrapped as it was leading to poor results. A sub-committee formed by the ministry had also recommended the same. However, the ministry decided to form a panel of education ministers from different states to reach a conclusion. “The panel of education ministers was formed around the same time as the CABE meeting where the scrapping of the policy was suggested,” said a ministry source.
Sources in the ministry said that most of the states were in favour of doing away with the policy. “However, a final decision can be taken only after all the states give their views to the panel, which is responsible for soliciting them and conveying the final decision to the ministry,” added a ministry source. Soliciting the views of the states is necessary as education is a subject on the concurrent list. The Delhi government has already expressed its view on the matter, suggesting that the policy should be scrapped.
The source added that some states were in favour of modifying the policy. “They have suggested that it should be applicable only till Class 3, while others would prefer it to be stretched till Class 6. These suggestions need to be taken into account before a final decision can be made,” said a ministry source.
However, supporters of the no-detention policy contend that while the policy, progressive and beneficial to children, was being blamed, its poor implementation was at fault.