School promotion under lens

School promotion under lens

A parliamentary standing committee has suggested that the government reconsider automatic promotion to students till class VIII under the Right to Education (RTE) Act in elementary schools, as it might discourage them from achieving academic excellence.

Expressing serious doubts over the efficacy of the no-detention policy, the panel noted that the system might deter te­achers, parents and peers from motivating the children si­nce promotion was guaranteed.

“The committee doubts the policy of automatic upgrade from class I-VIII under the RTE Act,” the panel stated in its report tabled in the Rajya Sabha. It referred to the findings of two surveys conducted by the NCERT on learning achievements of elementary school students.

One must not forget that the main objective of Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan-RTE was to ensure a child’s right to elementary education of “satisfactory and equitable quality” which satisfied certain essential norms and standards, observed the committee headed by Congress MP Oscar Fernandes.

“The committee feels that st­u­dents may not be motivated to work hard to learn if he/she is aware that his/her promotion to the next grade is guaranteed. A child may not be mature en­o­ugh to understand implicati­o­­ns of his being required to sit for formal examination for cl­a­ss IX onwards and obtain the minimum benchmark,” it said.

Consequently, if teachers, parents and peer groups stop making consistent efforts to motivate the students, it will tantamount to denying them an opportunity to learn and prepare for higher examinations. “In the light of the above, the committee would like the department to rethink its policy of automatic promotion up to class VIII,” the panel recommended.

Several studies conducted recently by NGOs like Pratham have indicated a steady slide in learning curves of schoolchildren at various levels since the implementation of the RTE Act. They have indirectly held the no-detention policy and continuous and comprehensive evaluation (CCE) system responsible for the decline.

At a recent meeting of the central advisory board on education, Gujarat, UP, Bihar, Maharashtra, Uttarakhand and Madhya Pradesh had severely criticised the CCE system and the no-detention policy.

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