Primary and Secondary Education – RTE, Education Policy, SEQI, RMSA, Committee Reports, etc.

Explained: Ending “No detention Policy” in schools


Mains Paper 2: Governance | Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources

From the UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Not much

Mains level: Read the attached story.


  1. A bill to amend the Right to Education (RTE) Act to abolish the ‘no detention policy’ in schools was passed in the Lok Sabha recently as per the recommendations of the TSR Subramanian Committee.
  2. Under the current provisions of the RTE Act, no student can be detained till class 8 and all students are promoted to the next grade.
  3. This provision has resulted into a severe threat in the Accountability of our elementary education system.

Provisions in the new Amendment

  1. Now onwards, under the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (second amendment) Bill, 2017, it will be at the discretion of the states whether to continue with no detention or not.
  2. This Bill provides for a regular examination in classes 5 and 8 and if the child fails, he or she shall be given an additional opportunity for re-examination in two months’ time.
  3. It aims brings accountability to our elementary education system.

What is no detention policy?

  1. The right to education act has been amended to provide the guarantee of uninterrupted schooling under sections 16 and 30(1) until Class 8.
  2. According to this, no student can be failed or expelled from school till the completion of elementary education covering classes I to VII. They shall automatically be promoted to next class till VIII standard.

Continuous Comprehensive Evaluation (CCE)

  1. The RTE Act has a provision for CCE which is aimed to assess the child’s understanding of what was being taught in class at periodic intervals.
  2. But it has certain concerns of flawed evaluation due to inadequate training of teachers and other infrastructural bottlenecks such as non-compliance of school under RTE.
  3. The Government is seeking to improve CCE as per global standards.

Why ‘no detention policy’ should be scrapped

  1. It has led to increased failure rate in classes 9th and 10th. Hence, if the ‘no detention policy’ continues, it will leave a negative impact on the standard of education and force the children to face more harsh future.
  2. This policy has led to students developing a casual attitude, with there being no risk of failing. The teachers have also become lethargic & started showing lesser interest towards academics.
  3. Reducing Institutional significance: Schools have become only schools for mid-day meal as education and learning are missing.
  4. Zero academic outcomesIf no merit is checked while giving promotion to another class, the children will never learn the importance of studying and acquiring knowledge. It will lead to poor academic outcome in classes.
  5. In some of the states like Sikkim, Kerala and Telangana, the students, who were studying in private schools, have come back to government schools to avoid detention.

Arguments in Favor of No Detention Policy

  1. Reducing dropouts from the schools due to peer pressure was the main reason the Right to Education Act included the no-detention provision if it is reversed many students would stop going to schools when they fail due to pressure from peers and family.
  2. Section 29 (2) (h) of the RTE Act makes a comprehensive and continuous evaluation (CCE) mandatory, wherein schools are expected to use test results to improve teaching and learning of the child and visualise evaluation as a diagnostic tool to improve learning.
  3. If a student is made to repeat a grade, there’s a strong chance he or she will discontinue learning thereby increasing dropout rates especially in the case of Girls.

Way Forward

  1. Shouldering the students with the responsibility of their own performance is absurd.
  2. The steps that can be taken to improve their performance outcomes can be:
  • measuring learning level outcomes of all children on a regular basis,
  • catalysing a “performance-driven culture” and rewarding high performers at every level,
  • changing stakeholders’ mindset and preparing them for new provisions, in which parents are made responsible or accountable for full attendance of their children.
  1. Schooling alone cannot improve the learning of the student. His/her family has a vital role to be played.
  2. In the UK, a student is promoted to the next grade irrespective of his level of progress. If students underperform, their assessment grades are compared with national data of progress levels and a ‘targeted intervention’ is made.
  3. Though ambitious, such a model can be taken into consideration by creating a national repository of school going children enhanced with certain performance parameters.
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