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A file photo of HRD minister Smriti Irani. Photo: PIB
A file photo of HRD minister Smriti Irani. Photo: PIB

CABE recommends revocation of no-detention policy

The advisory body also recommends bringing back Class 10 board exams

New Delhi: The country’s premier advisory body on education on Wednesday strongly favoured revocation of no-detention policy up to Class 8 and bringing back Class 10 board exams but the government seemed in no hurry to implement them as it asked the states to present their views in writing.

The newly reconstituted Central Advisory Board of Education (CABE), in a day long meeting, unanimously resolved for re-introduction of classes promotions in keeping with the recommendations of a CABE sub-committee report, contending the no-detention policy has adversely affected learning outcome.

However, HRD minister Smriti Irani, who chaired the meeting, stuck a cautious note saying her ministry will take a “comprehensive view" only after receiving the formal writings from the states. “All the state Education ministers unanimously appealed to revoke it (the policy). But all should give us in writing within 15 days to a month," she said, cautioning that any speculations right now will only give rise to confusion among students.

The decision, if implemented, could take it own course to be put in place as Parliament would then have to amend the Right to Free and Compulsory Education Act. Both the no-detention policy and making Class 10 board exams optional were introduced after the enactment of the Act in 2010. Irani replied in affirmative when asked if Class 10 board exams would be brought back if the no-detention policy is scrapped.

“This is a part of the whole approach. One can’t have a piecemeal approach. One has to have a holistic approach," she told reporters. Sources though said the CABE agenda did not include discussions on the Class 10 examinations as the deliberations largely centred around bringing back class promotions up to Class 8.

The sub-committee report on no-detention, which was prepared under the then Haryana education minister Geeta Bukkal during the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government had favoured review of the policy, concerned over the dwindling educational standards.

“We need to stop, re-assess and then move forward. At this stage, it would be prudent to reiterate the need for assessment of the learning outcomes and make it consequential by linking it to promotion or otherwise to the next class beyond grade 5," the committee had said in its report.

A few states have already repealed the policy, which had come into effect with the implementation of RTE by bringing in necessary amendments to the state rules.

According to a government statement, there was a broad consensus at the meeting, with the state governments being “unequivocal" in suggesting that the no-detention policy be “revoked".

“Education ministers, representing the states and CABE members unanimously agreed on the need to do so. However, the government proposed that the state government should formally provide their views in writing within 15 days to the HRD Ministry which would consider the next steps, based on these recommendations," the statement said.

The meeting was attended by 19 education ministers, officials from 29 states and heads of autonomous bodies besides nominated CABE members who include distinguished peoples from different disciplines. The meeting did not arrive on a consensus on the much debated move to extend RTE up to Class 10 and down to the pre-school level (nursery).

“A subcommittee was formed in 2012 to consider the proposal. It has not completed its work. Since it has not completed its work, state representatives present today demanded to reconstitute the subcommittee. It won’t be apt to comment on the same right now," she said.

The CABE meeting had a lengthy deliberation on the proposed new national education policy and emphasis was laid on finishing the first draft by the year end. “The consultation process has begun in many states under the new education policy. It was expressed that the entire process be completed at regional-level so that representatives of Centre and states discuss at least first draft (of the policy) at national level in November. So that the first draft is prepared/finalised in December," she said.

The minister would be travelling across the country in September to continue a process of two-way engagement and dialogue.

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