No-detention policy explained with latest reports

right to education and no detention policy

In the recent past, much uproar has been created over the no-detention policy that was introduced during the reign of the UPA Government in the year 2009.The no-detention policy is based on Section 16 of the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009. The Section says that no child will be held back in any class or expelled from school till the completion of elementary education. This is adversely affecting the children in many ways. It is affecting their education and their all-round development.

About No Detention Policy

No student up to class VIII can be failed or expelled from school. All the students up till Class VIII will automatically be promoted to next class. The policy was introduced under Continuous and Comprehensive Evaluation (CCE). It is a process of assessment under the Right to Education Act of India. The main aim of CCE is to evaluate every aspect of the child during their presence in the school. It was also done to reduce the workload of children by taking continuous tests of the students throughout the year. Under the scheme, grades will be awarded instead of the marks to the students.

Why was the policy implemented?

The policy was implemented under RTE Act in 2010 for the holistic development of the students throughout the year and not just twice a year. The idea was also to reduce the number of dropouts from the schools. Many states already had no-detention policies. This was also done to reduce the pressure on the students of the exams twice a year and rather they were evaluated throughout the year. Earlier, it was common to see students repeat the class so that they can perform better the next year. The anxiety of failing made the students work harder. A week or two after the exams, the parents of the students would be communicated that their child is promoted to the next class.

Current news of the Policy

As the NDA government enters its third year, Smriti Irani a first-time minister and the youngest in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ministerial council, said that education in the previous government had become a “political akhara (political battlefield)” and that she had brought a more cohesive and consensual approach to the ministry. Till date, many states have approached the Union Human Resource Development Ministry to scrap the No Detention Policy. However, the ministry has asked all the states in writing to unanimously agree to scrap the policy. Once all the states will agree the policy will be scrapped after comprehensive discussion with academicians, institutions and psychologists. Out of the 28 states and 8 union territories, till now only 20 states have asked the government to scrap the policy.

Ministry is in no hurry to abolish the policy. However on the basis of the recommendations provided by Central Advisory Board of Education due to the No Detention Policy the students are not at all taking their studies seriously. Hence forth CABE will re-introduce the class promotions in schools. Smriti Irani is yet to take any decision on this issue. She has recently quoted that is there is ample empirical evidence to suggest that the no-detention policy of the Right to Education Act had led to “detrimental impact on learning outcomes” and that the government is seeking legal opinion to address this. On the other hand, the Delhi Deputy Minister Manish Sisodia has introduced the Right to Children to Free and Compulsory Education (Delhi Amendment) Bill in the Delhi Assembly. He proposed the amendment of Sections 8 and 16. He has also asked the Ministry that the No Detention policy should be practised only till class 3.


If all the states agree and on the ‘comprehensive discussion with academicians, institutions and psychologists’, the HRD Ministry will have to amend the RTE Act as quickly as possible. The state governments should also cooperate with the ministry so that they can all reach a consensus.

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