Students of classes 5 and 8 who fail to pass their annual examinations might get another opportunity to pass even if the existing no-detention policy is scrapped as proposed in the Right to Education (RTE) amendment bill.

As per the existing no-detention policy, students are promoted automatically to higher classes every year till the eighth grade. A key component of the RTE Act, the no-detention policy unveiled by the UPA government came into force on April 1, 2010 with the intention of ensuring that every child aged between 6 and 14 received school education. However, for the past many years concerns have been raised about the negative impact of the policy on the academic performance of the students.

According to HRD minister Prakash Javadekar, an enabling provision is being made in the RTE amendment bill that will allow states to conduct examinations in class 5 and class 8 and detain students if they fail. States will, however, have the discretion to give another opportunity to these students to pass.

Explaining how the system will work, he said in case a student takes the annual exam in March and is unable to pass, he/she will get another opportunity in, say, June. Before sitting for the exams once again, the students will be asked to attend ‘remedial classes’. Once the new system comes into force, the onus would be on the states to decide whether to hold examinations in classes 5 and 8.

These amendments are likely to be taken up by the Union Cabinet this month. Once approved, it will be taken up for parliamentary approval.

Under the Right to Education no child till class 8 can be detained. After holding consultation with states in the Central Advisory Board of Education meeting last year it was decided to give states the right to decide whether they want to have no-detention policy or not. This requires amending the RTE Act. The move will allow states to evolve their own policy of detention from Class 5.

Many states, especially Delhi, have been vocal about the flaws in the no-detention policy that has affected quality of education.

However, Telangana and Tamil Nadu have opposed the proposed amendment to the policy. The policy is likely to come into force from 2018.