Home / Politics / Policy /  Lok Sabha passes bill allowing detention of children in Classes V-VIII who fail in exams

New Delhi: The Lok Sabha on Wednesday passed the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (Second Amendment) Bill, 2017, which seeks to reinstate detention for students of Class V to Class VIII if they fail to pass examinations. The legislation will affect more than 180 million students across 1.4 million elementary schools.

The bill, which will also allow the reintroduction of examinations for primarily schools, was discussed for more than two hours and found support of most political parties in the Lower House.

Human resource development minister Prakash Javadekar said that the quality of school learning has been deteriorating in the absence of examinations for Classes I-VIII, and the “accountability was missing".

He also informed the Lok Sabha that, barring four or five state education ministers, all others were in favour of doing away with the no-detention policy.

According to the RTE amendment bill, students will get two chances to pass the examination and they will be detained if they fail in both attempts.

Students will not be discriminated against, but school authorities will have no option but to detain students if they fail to measure up to the learning levels, the minister said.

The bill, however, has the provision to allow states to continue with the no-detention policy if they choose to, or conduct examinations at the school, district or state levels.

After the introduction of the RTE Act in April 2010, no student had failed between Class I and Class VIII, but the practice had attracted criticism for the deteriorating standards of education.

According to the Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) for rural India published by non-profit organisation Pratham, the proportion of all children in Class V who could read a Class II level text book declined to 47.8% in 2016 from 48.1% in 2014. The situation was equally alarming for arithmetic and English comprehension.

N.K. Premachandran, an MP from the Revolutionary Socialist Party of Kerala, supported the bill but asked the government to conduct assessments to know the outcome of the RTE Act.

Several MPs from various parties, including the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), sought to fix accountability on teachers for poor performance of students. The legislators also asked the HRD minister to keep a tab on the growing coaching industry, and the over deployment of teachers in non-teaching activities. They also asked him to allow single children of parents to get admission in schools under the 25% quota of the RTE Act.

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