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No Detention Policy
Aug 09, 2017

[GS Paper II:(Issues relating to development and management of social sector/services, relating to health, education and human resources)]

Why in news?

  • On July 2nd, the Union Cabinet approved the scrapping of the no-detention policy in schools, which will allow states to do away with no detention policy and hold exams for students in class VI, VII and VIII at school, district, board or state level.
  • Now students will be tested twice - in class V and VIII. Students will also be given an additional chance to clear the exam after failing once and will have option of remedial coaching as well.
  • In 2016, Central Advisory Board of Education (CABE) had advised Human Resource Development Ministry for the scrapping of ‘no detention policy’ on the ground that it was leading to lower learning outcomes. 
  • As many as 24 states are likely to scrap the no detention policy in schools from 2018 once the Union Cabinet and the Parliament approves the amendment of the relevant provision of the Right to Education Act (RTE).

What is No Detention Policy?

  • No Detention Policy states that no child admitted in a school shall be held back in any class or expelled till s/he completes elementary education, which is upto Class VIII.
  • It is provided under Section 16 of Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act or Right to Education Act (RTE).

Why was No Detention Policy introduced?

  • To reduce the higher dropout rate especially among economically marginalized communities.
  • The No Detention Policy was supposed to be part of the larger continuous and comprehensive evaluation (CCE) effort which replaced the annual examination system.
  • CCE mandates the assessment and evaluation of student’s academic, social and personality development on a continuous basis. 

Challenges with No Detention Policy

  • Teachers were ill-equipped to facilitate the implementation of the new methods of evaluation and in most cases the policy was interpreted as one that required no assessment at all. 
  • The policy was focused more on increasing the enrollment in elementary education but it compromised on the quality of basic education. 
  • It led to lackadaisical attitude among students towards their studies as they did not fear detention.

Way forward

  • According to the 2016 edition of “Annual Status of Education Report” (ASER) less than 48% of children in class V can read a class II-level textbook; only 43.2% of class VIII students in rural India can do simple divisions; only one out of every four students in class V could read an English sentence. The real solution to this socio-economic deprivation lies in improving quality of and access to education.
  • Less than 10 per cent of the schools in the country are fully compliant with the RTE’s requirements on infrastructure and teacher availability. Making teachers do their job better as well as fixing shortcomings in educational infrastructure and administration is the need of the hour.
  • Raising the quality of classroom teaching, continuous monitoring of teacher attendance and introduction of free vocational and industrial skills training for all those with such an aptitude after elementary schooling should be the priority.
  • Bringing back year-end examinations for Classes V and VIII and detaining students who fail them will not improve learning outcomes on their own unless supported by other necessary changes in the educational ecosystem. 

PT Facts

  • The 86th amendment (2002) inserted article 21A in the Constitution which states “The State shall provide free and compulsory education to all children of the age of six to fourteen years in such manner as the State may, by law, determine."
  • Section 16 of RTE Act 2009 prohibits holding back and expulsion of students in any class till the completion of elementary education.
  • TSR Subramanian Committee on Education and the Vasudev Devnani Committee formed under CABE had recommended the revocation of No Detention Policy.


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