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‘Sibal’s No Detention Policy a total flopshow’

‘Sibal’s No Detention Policy a total flopshow’
This particular measure has been a total failure. No stress of exam or pressure of grades amongst students, lack of infrastructure and such other factors are considered to be the main reason behind the failure of the initiative. Talking on the same, former director of National Council of Educational and Research Training (NCERT) J S Rajput chats up in an interview with Jahanvi. Excerpts:

Q) Was ‘No detention policy’ able to achieve its goal ? If not, then what are the reasons behind its failure?
No detention policy, in principle, is a sound pedagogical goal achievable, if all the infrastructure and professional support is in place. It was implemented as a political decision and meekly accepted/endorsed by a bureaucratic Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE). It is one of the several disasters Kapil Sibal imposed on the educational system of India. It was destined to be a massive failure. The factors that led to it are well known. Teachers were not trained, principals were trained for ‘one day’ only. CBSE forgot that 70 per cent government schools suffer perennial teacher shortage. You cannot expect Continuous and Comprehensive Evaluation (CCE) to be taught by para/part-time teachers appointed by government and proxy teachers appointed by regular teachers. Further, did MHRD/CBSE care about vacant posts of teachers estimated at around 12 lakhs?


Q) Are infrastructure and other such facilities important for the policy to work?

Unless a proper teacher: pupil ratio is maintained, teachers are not sent for non-academic work, regularity and punctuality are not strictly adhered to, CCE shall remain only on paper. Some private schools are successfully implementing it — thanks to their ‘courage and clout’ to ignore diktats from ‘outside’. Schools without drinking water, with leaking roofs, no electricity, no toilets, and no teachers still abound not only in rural areas but also in cities and towns. These are not the platforms to carry out CCE type of education.

Q) Are staff or teachers well trained to deal with new curriculum or to adopt new policies?
The failure of the regulating body National Council for Teachers Education (NCTE) has led to mushrooming of Teacher Education Colleges, most of which are commercial ventures. That apart, teacher education courses have not been revised/upgraded to meet the emerging demands. Several state governments are no longer appointing regular teachers. They are making appointments on remuneration basis and ‘saving money’!

Q) Was policy designed to meet international standards. If yes, then can those standards work in a developing country like ours?
I must, at the cost of repetition, put on record that Kapil Sibal was seen to copy everything from the US. He gave training of teachers component to a private company while NCERT was ignored. He sent a huge contingent of teachers to the US for months to study evaluation in Indian schools! One wonders, why our people need to go to Princeton to study how learner attainment of primary schools in Jhabua is to be evaluated/assessed? Great damage has been inflicted on the system, resulting in lowering of learner attainment in government schools and enhancement of weekly stress on students of private schools. Government needs a great policy challenge ahead.
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