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Govt scraps no-detention policy

Govt scraps   no-detention policy

After seven years of implementation of the Right to Education (RTE) Act, the government on Wednesday scrapped the no-detention clause to allow state governments to detain children in classes 6, 7, and 8. On the no-detention policy, Section 16 of the RTE Act, which came into effect in March 2010, currently states that no child admitted in a school shall be held back in any class or expelled till she completes elementary education, which is until Class VIII. The Cabinet is now learnt to have approved the HRD Ministry's proposal to amend the law to provide state governments with the freedom to draft appropriate rules under the Act for detaining a student in Class 6, 7, and 8. However, no child would be held back in a class unless they have been given an additional chance to clear the examinations after failing once. In between the first and second attempt, the student would be given remedial coaching. The proposal was passed at the behest of various state governments and it would now be placed in the Parliament for approval. Under the present provision of the RTE Act, students are promoted automatically to higher classes until Class VIII. This is one of the key components of the RTE Act which came into force on April 1, 2010. The Union cabinet, which had deferred its decision in June, about the creation of 20 world-class institutions in the country, also approved it on Wednesday.

The University Grants Commission (UGC) had in February passed a new set of regulations to set up 10 world-class institutions in the public sector and as many in the private sector. Of the 20 universities, first proposed in this year's budget, the 10 state-supported institutions are expected to receive public funding of up to Rs 500 crore each. An Expenditure Finance Committee note seeking Rs 5,000 crore for these institutions was moved. HRD's separate rules — UGC (Declaration of Government Educational Institutions as World Class Institutions) Guidelines — allow these institutes to fix their own fees for foreign students and decide salaries for foreign faculty, as well as the freedom to choose admission procedures. Existing universities don't have such freedom and are guided by the detailed UGC rules. Although the Parliament has already passed an RTE amendment Bill this session to extend the deadline for teachers to acquire the prescribed minimum qualifications for appointment by four years, the HRD Ministry will introduce another amendment Bill next session to change Section 16 of the Act. The group of ministers — HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar, Textile Minister Smriti Irani, Power Minister Piyush Goyal and Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharaman — held two meetings in June and suggested a few changes to the regulations. The group of ministers had earlier red-flagged the provision that permits transfer of the 'Letter of Intent' (LoI), issued by the empowered committee of the UGC, from one private player to any other party under exceptional circumstances. The HRD Ministry accepted this recommendation and, to prevent misuse of the transfer clause, has now specifically defined what exceptional circumstances mean: bankruptcy or death of the original promoter.


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