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President gives assent to Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (Amendment) Act, 2019

The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (Amendment) Act, 2019 which was passed by the Parliament on January 3, 2019 received the assent of the President of India on January 10. It has now been notified in the Gazette of India.

Jan 17, 2019 10:42 IST
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President gives assent to Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (Amendment) Act, 2019

The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (Amendment) Act, 2019 which was passed by the Parliament on January 3, 2019 received the assent of the President of India on January 10, 2019. It has now been notified in the Gazette of India. The bill seeks to do away with the no-detention policy in schools.

The motion to pass the bill was accepted by voice vote in the upper house of the Parliament, the Rajya Sabha. Union minister for Human Resources Development Prakash Javadekar’s motion to amend the name of the bill to reflect that it was passed in 2019 was also accepted by voice vote. The Lok Sabha had already passed the bill in July 2018.

Aim

The key aim behind the move is to rebuild the education system of the country, which is at present broken, as per the Union HRD Minister. The Minister said many students have moved from private schools to government schools in some states, such as Sikkim, Kerala and Telangana.

He added that teacher training, quality and accountability are most important and while stating that there is no shortage of teachers, he said that their deployment is not right.

Significance

The legislation is significant as it brings accountability in the elementary education system. The proposal received the support of a majority of state governments.

RTE amendment Bill: Key Provisions

The Bill seeks to amend the Right to Education (RTE) Act to abolish the “no-detention” policy in schools. Under the current provisions of the Act, no student can be detained up to class VIII.

As per the amendment, it would be left to the states to decide whether to continue the no-detention policy. This Bill has been analysed by a Parliamentary standing committee, which also recommended bringing back the concept of detention in schools.

The policy has been brought back as it was felt that compelling children to repeat a class was demotivating, often forcing them to abandon school.

The bill provides for regular examination in classes V and VIII, and if a child fails, the amendment bill grants a provision to give her or him additional opportunity to take a re-examination within two months.

Such children will be provided with two-month remedial teaching to perform better in the re-examinations.

If the students still do not pass the exam, the state government may decide to detain them.

Right to Education (RTE) Act

The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009 (the Act) provides for free and compulsory education to all children of the age of six to fourteen years.

The Section 16 of the Act provides that no child admitted in a school shall be held back in any class or expelled from school till the completion of elementary education.

This provision was made in the said Act because examinations are often used for eliminating children who obtain poor marks, which compels children either to repeat the same grade or leave the school altogether.

 It was felt that compelling a child to repeat a class is both de-motivating and discouraging.

Why the need for the amendment?

In recent years, States and Union territories have been raising the issue of adverse effect on the learning levels of children as section 16 does not allow holding back of children in any class till the completion of elementary education.

Therefore, the amendment to the section was proposed in order to improve the learning outcomes in the elementary classes and to empower the appropriate Government to take a decision as to whether to hold back a child in the fifth class or in the eighth class or in both classes, or not to hold back a child in any class, till the completion of elementary education.

According to the Union HRD Minister, over 25 states favour abolishing the no-detention policy.

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