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Govt of India step to scrap no detention to "dramatically increase" school drop out rate

Counterview Desk
The Right to Education (RTE) Forum has, in a statement, said that scrapping of "no detention" in schools, for which an Bill has been passed in Parliament, would lead to more dropouts, even as diluting the key provisions of the RTE Act. It believes, the "no detention" policy has led to a sharp fall in the drop out in schools at the primary level, and by seeking to drop it, the "innocent children" of backward communities would suffer the most, as repeating children in the same class would impact their psychology adversely.

Text of the statement:

The Right to Education (RTE) Forum believes that Rajya Sabha’s decision to pass the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (Second Amendment) Bill, 2017, which will allow states to detain children in class V and VIII will lead to an increase in the number of dropouts in the country and also dilute the RTE Act.
It was proved in the Rajya Sabha on (January 3, 2019) that the Government of India has not just systematically failed to implement the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009 (RTE Act) but also conveniently decided to punish millions of children for its failures.
According to national convener, RTE Forum, Ambarish Rai: “The consequence of detaining a child in the same class works adversely on the child’s psyche and has a deep impact on his/her self-esteem. It is a very unfortunate move which will impact all children, particularly those belonging to most marginalised communities leading to an increase in the number of dropouts. Children will be penalized for the system’s failure to provide quality education.”
Even after eight years of the RTE Act implementation, almost 90% of schools in India are not fully RTE compliant, millions of students are still out of school, huge numbers of teachers’ posts remain vacant.
But instead of effectively working to ensure the provisions of the RTE Act are implemented, the government has resorted to an easy route and has put the burden of the poor quality of education on the children. Samajwadi Party MP Javed Ali Khan, while opposing the bill mentioned "We cannot place the burden of pass or fail on small, innocent children in primary classes."
The very premise that detention would ensure better learning outcomes is without evidence. The Gita Bhukkal Committee Report cites research that shows that repeating does not help children perform better, rather repeating has adverse academic and social effects on the child.
The argument that no detention is the cause for low learning outcomes is faulty. On the contrary, since the introduction of "no detention", the annual dropout rate has halved (from 8.61% in 2006-07 to 4.34% in 2014-15). The retention rate has increased by 9% (74.92% in 2008 to 83.73% in 2014-15) and the transition rate (primary to upper primary) has increased by 7%.
CPI-M MP KK Ragesh rightly pointed out at the Rajya Sabha yesterday that detention will lead to an increase in the drop-out rate.
The greatest negative impact of this move will be on disadvantaged groups. First generation learners and Adivasi students whose mother tongue is other than the language of instruction in the school may be expected to have higher rates of detention.
Similarly, education of children with disabilities would be expected to suffer on account of the ‘outcome’ based criteria in the absence of measures to ensure inclusive education within the public education system.

Comments

Uma Sheth said…
Which is better: to allow students to reach the last year in school not knowing much and of no hope of getting employment or letting them drop out and have no hope of getting employment? It is Hobson's choice

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