The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (Second Amendment) Bill, 2017

Highlights of the Bill

  • The Right to Education Act, 2009 prohibits detention of children till they complete elementary education i.e., class 8.  The Bill amends this provision to state that a regular examination will be held in class 5 and class 8 at the end of every academic year.  If a child fails the exam, he will be given additional instruction, and take a re-examination.
  • If he fails in the re-examination, the relevant central or state government may decide to allow schools to detain the child. 

Key Issues and Analysis

  • There are differing views on whether children should be detained for failing examinations in elementary school.  Some argue that automatic promotion reduces incentive for children to learn and for teachers to teach.  Others argue that detaining a child leads to drop outs and does not focus on the systemic factors that affect learning such as quality of teachers, schools, and assessment. 
  • Provisions of the Bill regarding assessment and detention are at variance with what most states have demanded.  In this context, the question is whether these decisions should be taken by Parliament or left to state legislatures.
  • It is unclear as to who will conduct the examination (which may lead to detention): centre, state, or the school. 


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