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No child’s play

There are two sides to every narrative and the Right to Education Act (RTE) which was brought in by the UPA government also fits the bill. When the RTE was brought in, there seemed unwavering confidence in the fact that by not detaining children until the eight standard in thousands of government schools across India, the school dropout rate will subsequently be raised. Detention and failure then were considered as the single most demotivating factor for students to leave school and while their time elsewhere. But a report may soon end the ‘free-for-all’.

This report has indeed brought out some startling and yes, completely unfathomable facts. If 60 per cent students across the country who are studying in standard three are unable to read a book meant for standard one and only 25.6 per cent students across the country can divide a three digit number by a single digit number, what does it reflect of the education system in general? It reveals beyond doubt that the ‘no fail formula’ has indeed backfired to an unimaginable level. And these disclosures are especially important because of the kind of public money that has been spent on several education programmes across the country including the Right to Education and the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan.

It is understandable that India’s education system- whether primary, secondary or the higher level is in doldrums. Not even one Indian higher education institute finds mention in the top 100 educational destinations across the world. Till the time populist measures like these which are nothing more than attempts at garnering a major share of the vote-bank continue to be functional, students will remain laggard and there may soon be a situation where they will stop attending classes altogether. But perhaps better sense has prevailed at the HRD ministry, which is all set to revamp the existing education policy by culling the right to get promoted till standard eight altogether.       
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