Detention no cure: on RTE Act amendment

 

Detention no cure: on RTE Act amendment

The amendment to the Right to Education Act will only undermine its intent
The legislation(क़ानून) to amend(संशोधन करना) the Right to Education Act to give States the power to detain students who fail an examination in Class 5 or 8 is a negative measure(उपाय). Although(हालांकि/यद्यपि) many States want such a change, the amendment passed by the Lok Sabha goes against the view of many educationists, who argue(तर्क करना/उलझ जाना) that it would weaken one of the progressive(प्रगतिशील/उन्नतिशील) features of the RTE Act, which is to guarantee the continued presence(उपस्थिति/मौजूदगी) of the child in school during the formative(निर्माणात्मक/रचनात्मक) learning phase. The proposed change will allow State Boards to declare a student failed and detain her on the basis of an examination, although Section 30(1) of the RTE Act holds out the assurance that no child shall be required to face any Board examination till completion of elementary education. There are genuine(वास्तविक/सच्चा) concerns(चिंताओं/मामला) on learning outcomes produced by India’s schooling system. But these are determined(निर्धारित/दृढ़-संकल्प) not only by a student’s effort(प्रयास है/चेष्टा) but also by the number and quality of teachers, processes for continuous assessment(मूल्यांकन/लगान) and, crucially(महत्वपूर्ण), active engagement(वचनबद्धता/कार्य/मंगनी) of parents and the community in encouraging(उत्साहजनक/आशा देनेवाला) excellence(उत्कृष्टताश्रेष्ठता). It is the lack of attention(ध्यान) to some of these determinants that has created what Human Resource Development Minister Prakash Javadekar calls a “broken(छिन्न-भिन्न/खंडित)” school education system. Detaining(निरोधक) already disadvantaged(हानि पहुंचाना/नुक़सान पहुंचाना) children can only break it further, and render the RTE Act a dead letter.

The case to replace the no-detention provision(प्रावधान/नियम) with one that reintroduces(पुन: प्रस्तुत करता है) examinations in grades 3, 5 and 8 was made by a sub-committee of the Central Advisory Board of Education set up to review the provision, but its assumptions(मान्यताओं/धारणा) were faulty(दोषपूर्ण/त्रुटिपूर्ण). For one, it concluded(निष्कर्ष निकाला/समाप्त होना) that the crucial guarantee could be implemented(कार्यान्वित) only under ideal conditions, and these were not available, while the pioneering(अग्रणी) RTE Act wanted to extend(लागू होना/विस्तार) it to all grades within its purview(दायरे/सीमा). Yet, the provision is central to the objects of the law, since it seeks to check dropouts(ख़ारिज किया हुआ) and enable all children to attend school in order to derive benefits that go beyond rote-learning. In fact, in 2016 the NITI Aayog found, based on a study in Punjab, that bringing(लाना) back detention in elementary schooling would increase(वृद्धि/विस्तार) the dropout rate, impacting(प्रभावित) the poor and Dalits the most as they depended on government institutions(संस्था/समाज). Besides, the proposed ‘cure’ may make another problem worse: when parents are unable to ensure(सुनिश्चित) regular attendance of children due to social circumstances(परिस्थितियों), it is inconceivable(समझ से बाहर) that detaining them for non-performance will act as an incentive(प्रोत्साहन/प्रलोभन) to attend school regularly. The move to introduce examinations as filters has not been fully thought through, and may be a hasty(जल्दबाजी /अविवेकी) response(प्रतिक्रिया) to demands from State governments which want to be seen as acting firmly(दृढ़ता से/मजबूती से) in favour of quality. Tinkering(झुकाव/संवारता) with the RTE Act without sufficient(उचित/पर्याप्त) thought will erode a major constitutional(संवैधानिक/शारीरिक) achievement.

 

 

Important Vocabulary

 

1.Argue(तर्क करना/उलझ जाना)
Synonyms: contend, disagree, dispute, quarrel, quibble
Antonyms: agree, concur, give in, make peace, abstain

2.Formative(निर्माणात्मक/रचनात्मक)
Synonyms: developmental, determinative, sensitive, shaping, immature
Antonyms: destructive, noninfluential

3.Genuine(वास्तविक/सच्चा)
Synonyms: absolute, bona fide, certain, honest, legitimate
Antonyms: doubtful, dubious, indefinite, questionable, uncertain

4.Determined(निर्धारित/दृढ़-संकल्प)
Synonyms: decisive, dogged, purposeful, resolute, resolved
Antonyms: irresolute, undetermined, weak, yielding, changeable

5.Concerns(चिंताओं/मामला)
Synonyms: burden, interest, involvement, matter, thing
Antonyms: entertainment, fun, pastime, unemployment, disinterest

6.Excellence(उत्कृष्टताश्रेष्ठता)
Synonyms: greatness, merit, perfection, purity, quality
Antonyms: unimportance, failure, imperfection, inferiority

7.Progressive(प्रगतिशील/उन्नतिशील)
Synonyms: continuous, dynamic, enlightened, forward-looking, gradual
Antonyms: intermittent, conservative, moderate

8.Faulty(दोषपूर्ण/त्रुटिपूर्ण)
Synonyms: broken, cracked, damaged, defective, deficient
Antonyms:OK, accurate, adequate, ample, complete

9.Dropouts(ख़ारिज किया हुआ/
Synonyms: failure, hippie, nonconformist, quitter, truant

10.Firmly(दृढ़ता से/मजबूती से)
Synonyms: rigidly, securely, solidly, soundly, strongly
Antonyms: changeably, flexibly, indefinitely, movably, waveringly

11.Incentive(प्रोत्साहन/प्रलोभन)
Synonyms: encouragement, enticement, impetus, motivation, reason
Antonyms: discouragement, hindrance, deterrent, dislike, prevention

 

 

 

Credit to The Hindu News Paper

The legislation to amend the Right to Education Act to give States the power to detain students who fail an examination in Class 5 or 8 is a negative measure. Although many States want such a change, the amendment passed by the Lok Sabha goes against the view of many educationists, who argue that it would weaken one of the progressive features of the RTE Act, which is to guarantee the continued presence of the child in school during the formative learning phase. The proposed change will allow State Boards to declare a student failed and detain her on the basis of an examination, although Section 30(1) of the RTE Act holds out the assurance that no child shall be required to face any Board examination till completion of elementary education. There are genuine concerns on learning outcomes produced by India’s schooling system. But these are determined not only by a student’s effort but also by the number and quality of teachers, processes for continuous assessment and, crucially, active engagement of parents and the community in encouraging excellence. It is the lack of attention to some of these determinants that has created what Human Resource Development Minister Prakash Javadekar calls a “broken” school education system. Detaining already disadvantaged children can only break it further, and render the RTE Act a dead letter.

The case to replace the no-detention provision with one that reintroduces examinations in grades 3, 5 and 8 was made by a sub-committee of the Central Advisory Board of Education set up to review the provision, but its assumptions were faulty. For one, it concluded that the crucial guarantee could be implemented only under ideal conditions, and these were not available, while the pioneering RTE Act wanted to extend it to all grades within its purview. Yet, the provision is central to the objects of the law, since it seeks to check dropouts and enable all children to attend school in order to derive benefits that go beyond rote-learning. In fact, in 2016 the NITI Aayog found, based on a study in Punjab, that bringing back detention in elementary schooling would increase the dropout rate, impacting the poor and Dalits the most as they depended on government institutions. Besides, the proposed ‘cure’ may make another problem worse: when parents are unable to ensure regular attendance of children due to social circumstances, it is inconceivable that detaining them for non-performance will act as an incentive to attend school regularly. The move to introduce examinations as filters has not been fully thought through, and may be a hasty response to demands from State governments which want to be seen as acting firmly in favour of quality. Tinkering with the RTE Act without sufficient thought will erode a major constitutional achievement.

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