Schools to reintroduce detention policy

Concerned over the falling standard of educ­a­tion at the elementary level, Karnataka has decided to reintroduce the detention policy by conducting distr­i­c­t-level examinations for stud­e­­nts of Classes V and VIII from the next academic year.

Karnataka Primary and Secondary Education Minister Kimmane Ratnakar, who met Human Resource Development (HRD) Minister Smriti Irani here on Tuesday, told reporters that conducting of the examinations and reintroduction of the detention policy were necessary if the quality of education at the primary level was to be maintained and accountability was to be fixed on teachers.

The State government plans to introduce district-level examination for Classes V and VIII, he said, adding that if required, the State would send a request to the Centre to make the necessary amendment to the Right to Education Act.

The decision comes in the wake of the recommendations of a Central Advisory Board of Education sub-committee headed by Haryana Education Minister Geeta Bukkal, formed to examine the no-detention policy under the RTE by the then HRD Minister Kapil Sibal. The panel favoured reintroduction of the detention policy.

The committee argued that the absence of such a system had led to a sharp fall in the learning outcomes of students in most states. Several other states, including Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Rajasthan, have already started the process of reintroduction of the detention policy at the primary level. Ratnakar also said that a textbook review committee would be constituted soon to review the contents of the existing books up to class X.

On the reported “saffronisation” of textbooks by the previous BJP government in Karnataka, the minister said the new panel would consist of eminent educationists representing different fields, and they would study and suggest deletion of any controversial content in the books.

“All the textbooks’ content will be within the framework of the Constitution of India, which is also the policy of the Congress-ruled state,” he said.

The minister also sought an additional grant of Rs 6,000-crore from the HRD Ministry to provide various infrastructure to schools, including buildings and computers.

Apart from seeking funds to open 456 new high schools, in backward regions, the State also demanded more money to provide a second set of free uniforms to students of all standards up to class X in governments schools. Besides appointing 16,000 teachers to primary and high schools shortly, the minister said district-wise recruitment was also being planned to avoid frequent transfers.

Aiming to address the shortage of teachers in most of the backward regions of Karnataka, the government also proposes to introduce a new policy to ensure that newly recruited teachers are not transferred out of the district for at least 10 years from the date of recruitment.

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