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Right to Education (RTE) Act: Amendments and Concerns

 

Relevancy

  • GS Mains Paper-2, EDUCATION

Why in news?

  • Lok Sabha recently approved an amendment to the Right to Education (RTE) Act.
  • Giving states the power to detain students who fail an examination in Class 5 or 8 would undermine the intent of the Act.

What are the concerns?

  • The RTE Act guarantees and provides for the continued presence of the child in school during the formative learning phase.
  • Thus, detention would weaken this significant, progressive feature of the RTE Act.
  • Detaining is unlikely to be an incentive, when social circumstances already make it hard to ensure regular attendance.
  • It will allow State Boards to declare a student failed and detain her on the basis of an examination.
  • But RTE Act assures that no child shall be required to face any Board examination till completion of elementary education.
  • The NITI Aayog had found that bringing back detention in elementary schooling would increase the dropout rate.
  • This would impact the poor and Dalits the most, as they depend on government institutions.

What are the drawbacks?

  • There are some genuine concerns on learning outcomes produced by India’s schooling system.
  • But these are determined not only by a student’s effort.

It depends on various other factors including:

  1. the number and quality of teachers
  2. the processes for continuous assessment
  3. the active engagement of parents and the community in encouraging excellence
  • It is the lack of attention to some of these determinants that have created a “broken” school education system.
  • Detaining already disadvantaged children can only break it further.
  • Any dilution of the RTE Act without sufficient thought will erode a major constitutional achievement.

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