Parliament Nods Bill That Scraps ''No Detention'' Policy

After days of disruptions, the Rajya Sabha on Thursday functioned for several hours and passed two Bills, including a law to amend the Right to Education Act. 
The Bill, which was passed by the Lok Sabha in July last year, will do away with the no-detention policy, which prohibits schools from detaining students up to class VIII. The Upper House passed the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (Amendment) Bill by a voice vote amid a walkout by the Left parties. 
Union Human Resource Development Minister Prakash Javadekar said the Centre had to amend the Bill because at least 25 states were demanding the right to change the no-detention policy. 
Javadekar said that the Bill will give states the power to decide if the no detention rule needs to continue or not. He said that comprehensive evaluation of students was not taking place and the amendment will not result in an increase in school dropout rates. Justifying the need to bring in the amendment, he said it was often said that in some cases, a Class V student did not know the mathematics lessons meant for Class III. 
The Bill will pave way for regular examinations for classes V to VIII, and if a child fails, they will be given another opportunity to appear for the examination in two months’ time. 
Senior CPI leader D Raja asked Javadekar to defer the Bill for wider consultation. RJD’s Manoj Jha also opposed the Bill, saying children were being made to pay for the education system’s inefficiencies. “You have taken a regressive decision,” he said.
The Upper House also passed a Bill to provide retrospective recognition to central and state government funded institutions offering B.Ed and related courses that are not recognised under the National Council for Teacher Education Act. 
Javadekar said that the National Council for Teacher Education (Amendment) Bill would help over 17,000 students, who have B.Ed degrees from institutions that do not have NCTE approval for the course under the 1993 law.