CBSE suggestion for detaining students at Class V and VIII goes against the letter and spirit of the RTE Act with HRD minister Prakash Javadekar himself endorsing it. DC probes what repercussions it will have and elicits views of stakeholders.
Kochi: Triggering another serious debate in school education, the Union Ministry of Human Resources Development and the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) are planning to introduce board exam in Class V and VIII with a provision to detain weak students. This is apart from taking out the class-based exam in Class X while retaining only board exam.
This is a marked deviation since the introduction of the Right to Education Act 2009 where there was no detention till Class VII. It mandates free and compulsory education between the ages of 6 and 14.
Parents are apprehensive about the move, especially in Class V while management association representatives back the CBSE move saying that it will strengthen the credibility of the school education system.
Kerala CBSE School Management Association president T.P. M. Ibrahim Khan said that the all pass system had resulted in erosion of quality and that it was time to restore credibility to the school education system. The new move for detention in Class V and VIII was aimed at that.
“The major example is the Kerala syllabus education system which has lost its reputation outside as it diluted quality and lavishly gave marks. On the contrary, the CBSE stream has gained acceptance even in Gulf countries and people from other countries who work there take their children to CBSE schools,” Khan said.
Handholding in Class V is needed from the beginning of the academic year for weak students to enable them pass the board exam. “They should also be given motivation. Along with strong syllabus we need a credible education system. If there is no serious exam, many students don’t take studies seriously. The CBSE should also issue guidelines and install a system of supervision for all board exams from Class V to rule out complaints in this regard,” Khan said.
According to Sherly Peter, a parent and native of Aluva, the system has its merits and demerits. “Students these days get trapped in the cut-throat competition engaged by private schools which dominate the CBSE sector. Many of these schools have a tendency to promote brilliant students while ignoring others to the extent of asking them to take transfer certificates. So the detention policy could be further misused by such schools. They also charge high fees and the detention will enable them to continue this fleecing,” said Sherly Peter.
She also said that the CBSE authorities should ensure that the rule is enforced in a fair manner. “I am against enforcing detention at Class V. It is too early for a kid and defeat and detention will leave a scar in his/her mind. But if enforced in a fair manner without prejudices, it can be put to good use in Class VIII. Parents should be taken into confidence also while doing this,” she said.
Jismi Joseph Ebin who teaches at St Mary’s School, Cherthala, and parent of a Class V student says that detention in Class V is a strict no-no. “Students would be
learning basics of both subjects and languages or into first and second levels. So it is not the right time to take such decisions. Teachers have a responsibility to handhold children at this age and cement basic understandings. Moreover, their level of emotional intelligence is still to be matured and a defeat will make a life-long impact. A better judgment could be made at Class VIII. In any case, both teachers and parents have equal responsibility to take children forward,” she said.
Educationist R.V.G. Menon said that he was against the system of detaining students. “I strongly believe that students should not be failed at Class V and VIII. It does not mean that mediocrity should be promoted. There could be solid reasons behind the failure of each student and such issues should be identified and addressed. It could be parental problems, lack of teachers or good teachers or other reasons. All such issues should be identified and addressed rather than placing all the blame on the child. There was a time when a number of students were detained in lower classes but it did not do any good to them or the education system,” Menon said.
Jaya Sabin, principal, Greets Public School, Kaloor, said that healthy competition promoted excellence. “When the continuous and comprehensive evaluation (CCE) system was introduced, a laid back attitude to studies percolated among students, especially those who are not brilliant and hardworking. Now that is reversed with CCE not in existence any more. So I hope the Class V and VII board exams will do good for students as a whole,” she added....