RTE Act Current Affairs

Lok Sabha passes The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (Amendment) Bill, 2017

The Lok Sabha has passed The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (Amendment) Bill, 2017. The Bill amends the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act (RTE), 2009 to extend the deadline for teachers to acquire the prescribed minimum qualifications for appointment.

Through the amending measure inadequately qualified teachers as on March 31, 2015, working after enactment of the RTE Act, 2009 are being given last chance to acquire minimum qualifications within a period of four years i.e. by March 31, 2019 to hold their jobs as teachers.

Key Facts

The amendments to RTE Act, 2009 will enable the in-service untrained elementary teachers to complete their training and ensure that all teachers at the elementary level have certain minimum standard of qualifications. It will ensure that all teachers attain minimum qualifications as considered necessary to maintain the standard of teaching quality. It will ultimately result in improvement in overall quality of teachers, teaching processes and learning outcomes of children. It will reinforce Government’s emphasis on improvement of quality of elementary education.

Background

The RTE Act, 2009 envisages free and compulsory elementary education to every child in the age group of 6-14 years. The section 23(2) of the Act specifies that all teachers at elementary level at commencement of this law if did not possess minimum qualifications under it need to acquire these within a period of five years i.e. by March 2015. However, several state governments have reported that 11.00 lakh teachers at the elementary level are still untrained out of a total number of 66.41 lakh teachers.

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HRD Ministry: No Detention Policy to be removed from next Academic Year

The HRD Ministry has decided to remove the no-detention policy for students from the next academic year. Under the Right to Education Act, no child will be detained or held back in any class or expelled till the completion of elementary education covering classes 1 to 8.

Rationale

The government’s decision comes after it had received several complaints regarding the deterioration of the quality of basic education in the country. In addition, the States have been asking for the withdrawal of the no-detention policy from the Right to Education Act 2009. As per the critics, the policy has resulted in remarkable improvement in enrollments but has brought down the academic standards.

Background

No-Detention Policy 

Under this policy, the students up to class VIII are automatically promoted to the next class without being held back even if they do not get a passing grade. The policy was implemented as part of the Continuous and Comprehensive Evaluation (CCE) under the RTE Act to ensure all-round development of students. The concept of CCE which was imported from the West lays emphasis on evaluating a child through the year, and not just based on performance in one or two term exams.

The basic objective behind the no-detention policy was to prevent dropouts. The no detention policy in the RTE does not mean the abolition of assessment rather it calls for a replacement of the traditional system of evaluation with a continuous and comprehensive assessment that is not threatening. The policy also intends to free the students from the pressure and fear of examination and give them a stress-free academic environment and childhood.

Committees 

The TSR Subramanian committee on Education had observed that the no detention policy in schools should be applicable till Class V and exams be held from Class VI onwards. Prior to this, the Vasudev Devnani committee had also recommended for the revocation of No-Detention Policy.

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