New Delhi : The Central Advisory Board of Education (CABE), an advisory body of the school education boards, on Tuesday, came to a decision of no detention up to Class V and left it up to the states to carry on such a provision up to Class VIII as stipulated in the Right to Education (RTE) Act.

The decision is in tune with the recommendation of the state education ministers’ committee headed by Rajasthan’s Vasudev Devnani to “not fail a child till Class V, but give him another chance, preferably a retest, before detention from Class V onwards”.  The meeting, chaired by Human Resources Development Minister Prakash Javadekar and attended by the state education ministers, also extended the deadline under RTE Act to have only trained teachers in schools from 2015 to 2020.

Discussions in the meeting were significant as they come at a time when the government is working on a new education policy.  Javadekar announced that the RTE Act will be amended to empower the states to review the no-detention policy beyond Class V.  The meeting did not take a decision on scrapping the Class X examination by the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), leaving it up to the CBSE to decide internally but with a rider that it should ensure an advance notice to the students.

 Participants agreed that the enrollment of children in schools has gone up because of the RTE act providing for compulsory and free education up to the age of 14, but the quality of learning is abysmal because of the no-detention clause in the Act.  Javadekar has already put on hold a decision of his predecessor Smriti Irani to undertake the learning outcome survey of all students up to Class VIII instead of the present practice of only a sample survey of students in Classes III, V and VIII.

The NCERT, an academic body that conducts the sample survey every three years, had approached the minister to point out that survey of all 19 crore children in nearly 13 lakh government, aided and unaided schools would be a Herculean task, not done in any country.  The HRD Ministry officials said the RTE Act already stipulates continuous and comprehensive evaluation of every child by the schools and hence a separate body carrying out the outcome survey of all students may not be of much relevance. They said Javadekar has approved the NCERT to continue its practice of the sample survey every third year.

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