The National Institution for Transforming India (NITI) Aayog has called for a review of the provisions of the Right To Education (RTE) Act that stipulate children who do not perform well cannot be held back up to 8th Class.
The RTE Act aims to provide primary education to all children aged 6 to 14 years. It stipulates that no child can be held back in a grade, regardless of his performance, all the way up to the 8th grade. This means that a child is entitled to an 8th grade diploma even if he cannot recognise a single letter or a number if he has spent eight years in school.
- The government think tank pointed out that the purpose behind this provision in the Act was to minimise drop-out rate as demoralisation from failing a class may result children to withdraw from school altogether.
- However, despite good intention, the provision has a detrimental effect on learning outcomes, since it takes away the pressure to learn and to compete. So the NITI Aayog called revision of the RTE Act.
- The real problem is the quality of education as measurement by student achievements. The education quality trend between 2010 and 2014 has been worsening instead of improving performance.
The Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) 2014 report, the proportion of children aged 6-14 years enrolled in school in rural areas has been above 96% for the past six years but more than 50% of the 5th graders cannot read second standard level text.