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Parliament approves Bill to abolish ‘no fail policy till Class 8’

January 7, 2019

Parliament, on Thursday, approved a bill to amend a section in the Right to Education Act to abolish the ‘no detention policy’ till Class VIII by enabling state governments to allow schools to fail students.

The Rajya Sabha passed the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (Amendment) Bill, 2019 by a voice vote. However, Left parties staged a walkout opposing the Bill. The Bill was passed by the Lower House on July 18 last year.

Replying to the discussion on the Bill, Union Human Resource Development Minister Prakash Javadekar said the amendment to the Bill was brought in since 25 states were demanding the right to change the “no detention” policy. This Bill is nothing but to give the state’s power to decide whether no detention needs to continue or not, he said.

Javadekar said the Bill was brought as comprehensive evaluation of students was not happening, adding that the Standing Committee approved the Bill unanimously. In some cases Class V student did not know the mathematics of Class III. This Bill provides for a regular examination in classes V and VIII and if the child fails, he or she shall be given additional opportunity for re-examination in two months’ time. He assured the House that the passage of this Bill will not lead to increase in dropout rates in schools.

CPI leader D Raja urged the minister to defer the Bill for wider consultation, saying ideally, the Bill should have been referred to a Select Committee. He said a distressing trend was being witnessed in the country with education becoming increasingly privatised, adding, the Government should have thought of a common school system.

Manoj Jha of the RJD also opposed the Bill, saying children were being made to pay for the inefficiencies of the education system. “You have taken a regressive decision”, he said, while pointing out large vacancies of teachers in schools and the lack of proper infrastructure.

Under the current provisions of the Right to Education Act, no student can be detained till class 8 and all students are promoted to the next grade. Education World, in its April 2018 cover story, “Why RTE Act should be scrapped” had discussed the negative impact of this section of the landmark law in detail.

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