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Draft National Education Policy suggests review of no-detention system

Panaji: The Draft National Education Policy 2019 released on May 31 by the Ministry of Human Resource Development states that the no-detention policy under the Right to Education Act should be reviewed.

“The recent amendments to the RTE Act on continuous and comprehensive evaluation and the no-detention policy must be reviewed,” it says, pointing out, “This policy states that there should be no detention of children in Grades up to VIII; instead, schools must ensure that children are achieving age-appropriate learning levels and are receiving the relevant extra support {for example, through remedial support programmes such as the National Tutors Programme (NTP) and Remedial Instructional Aides Programme (RIAP)} in every instance where it is required.” 

It may be recalled that many of the schools around the country including those in Goa, as a part of the competition to achieve 100 per cent results at the SSC examination were promoting only brilliant students from class IX to class X, and detaining the average or borderline students in class IX. This was seen as an outcome of the no-detention policy, which took away seriousness from the process of learning, in the absence of exams till class VIII, as a result of which many students performed below average level when they appeared for class IX exam.

Incidentally, majority of the state MLAs had urged the then chief minister Manohar Parrikar to re-introduce the pass-fail system in state school education and scrap the existing no-detention policy.

The Draft National Education Policy 2019 prepared by a committee headed by K Kasturirangan also stresses on ensuring that teachers are given the highest quality training in content, pedagogy and practice, by moving the teacher education system into multidisciplinary colleges and universities, and establishing the four-year integrated Bachelor’s Degree as the minimum qualification for all school teachers.

It also observes,

“Heartbreakingly, the teacher education sector has been beleaguered with mediocrity as well as rampant corruption due to commercialisation. Most institutions today providing teacher education are small colleges in the private sector that offer only a single narrow programme, and where there is a general lack of commitment to the need for rigour and quality in teacher preparation.”

“Indeed, according to All India Survey of Higher Education (AISHE) data for 2015-16, of the 17,000 plus colleges in India that teach just a single programme, nearly 90 per cent are teacher training institutes! Moreover, according to the Justice J S Verma Commission (2012) constituted by the Supreme Court, a majority of these standalone teaching institutes – over 10,000 in number – are not even attempting serious teacher education, but are essentially selling degrees for a price,” the Draft Policy observes.

In Goa, a recent statistics released by the education department has observed that many of the private unaided institutions are recruiting untrained teachers in them. The department had also maintained that it would stop such practice from the forthcoming academic year 2019-20.

Furthermore, stating that “Board examinations should be given in a range of subjects to encourage holistic development,” the Draft Policy says, “Students should be able to choose many of the subjects in which they take Board examinations, depending on their individualised interests.”

“Board examinations must also be made easier, in the sense that they test primarily core capacities rather than months of coaching and memorisation; any student who has been going to and making a basic effort in a school class should be able to pass the corresponding subject Board examination without much additional effort,” it adds, pointing out, “Students should be able to take a Board examination in a given subject in whichever semester they take the corresponding class in school, that is whenever they feel most ready; and they should be able to take any such subject Board examination again if they feel they can study and do better.”

The draft will be shared with the states for feedback. Later, the MHRD will examine these suggestions and place it for final approval of the Union cabinet.

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