Mumbai: Pointing out that children did not take studies seriously because of the no-detention policy till Class VIII implemented under the Right to Education (RTE) Act, most teachers and parents said they would welcome a change in the policy.
The Union Human Resource Development Minister Prakash Javadekar has announced that the RTE Act may be amended such that states can review the no-detention policy beyond Class V. A major reason cited for change in policy is the deteriorating quality of education. Sources say that the state government is in favour of the change too.
“Children will develop a strong foundation if they have fear of exams. Also, they should learn to face challenges in life,” said Jean Gomes, principal of Michael High School, Kurla. She added that the weak students are not able to cope when suddenly they are expected to perform in class IX. “They end up suffering an inferiority complex. Some even drop out at that stage,” she said.
Teachers admitted that because of the no-detention till Class VIII, schools followed the system of mass-detention in Class IX so that they get good results in class X.
There were also voices against a change in policy. Deepshikha Srivastava, principal of Rajhans Vidyalaya, Andheri said that we cannot blame the child for the deteriorating quality of education. “To a large extent, it is the way we teach or the teaching methods that is to blame,” she said.
“What about children with learning disabilities who benefitted because of the policy,” she asked. “We have a bad habit of labelling children as failed which hurts the child’s self esteem,” she added.
She also pointed that this policy was necessary in the rural areas or for those of lower-income who would pull the child out of school and sent him or her to work if they failed.
Sangeeta Srivastav, principal of Kandivali Education Society School, was in favour of a change in policy. She said that teachers tend to lose interest in the present setup since they know that children had to be promoted anyway.
“Passing in Class X also may not be an issue, but children find it difficult to score well to get into good colleges in the present situation where they have neglected studies for a major part,” she added.
Prasad Tulaskar, a parent, said there needed to be filtration mechanisms in promotions or children tend to take studies lightly. “If they have to be promoted anyway, there might as well be no examinations,” he argued.