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RTE : No detention policy

86th constitutional amendment act inserted article 21-A, providing free and compulsory elementary education for all children of age group six to fourteen years as a fundamental right. The enabling legislation The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act, 2009 led to democratisation of education ensuring full time, satisfactory and equitable quality education in a formal school which satisfy certain essential norms and standards.

No Detention Policy

Section 16 of the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act, 2009 stipulates that ‘No child admitted in a school shall be held back in any class or expelled from school till the completion of elementary education’. The rationale for the No Detention Policy or automatic promotion to the next class is minimising dropouts, making learning joyful, and removing the fear of failure in exams.The evaluation mechanism under the Policy is the Continuous and Comprehensive Evaluation (CCE) for holistic assessments (e.g., paper-pencil test, drawing and reading pictures, and expressing orally) as opposed to the traditional system of examinations

Amendment to RTE Act to scrap No Detention Policy

A Sub-Committee was constituted for assessment of implementation of Continuous and Comprehensive Evaluation (CCE) in the context of No-Detention provision in the RTE Act, 2009 by Central Advisory Board of Education (CABE). The committee strongly favoured revocation of no-detention policy, contending the no-detention policy has adversely affected learning outcome.

The recommendations of the Committee are as under:

(i) There should be an examination at Class 5. It should be left to the States and UTs to decide whether this exam will be at the school, block, District or State Level.
(ii) If a child fails then allow the child an opportunity to improve. There should be additional instruction provided to children and the child should be given an opportunity to sit for another exam. If the child is unable to pass the exam in the second chance, then detain the child.
(iii) At Classes 6 and 7, there should be a school based exam for students.
(iv) At Class 8, there should be an external exam. In case the child fails, the child should be given additional instruction and then appear for an improvement exam. If fails again then detain. The matter regarding amendment to Section 16 of the RTE Act, 2009 is under the active consideration of this Ministry.

The reasons for the reconsideration of No Detention Policy include:

  1. The lack of preparedness of the education system to support the Policy.
  2. Automatic promotion disincentivising children from working hard.
  3. Low accountability of teachers.
  4. Low learning outcomes.
  5. The lack of proper implementation of CCE and its integration with teacher training.


There have been some adverse observations regarding the learning outcomes of children as per various surveys and study by National Sample Survey ,Economic survey 2015, ASER report etc. While poor learning outcome remains a genuine concern, It should not be determined by students performance alone. Various other factors such as number and quality of teachers, process of continuous evaluation, active engagement of parents and community in encouraging excellence need to be taken in account. A robust and holistic school education system is the need of the hour.