Since children will advance even if they are not learning won't it affect the quality of education?
This is a common perception since it is difficult to see beyond the centuries old custom and culture of failing and expelling children. That the learning level of a child who is punished by failure at any time in the elementary stage shall improve the next year has no educational or research backing. If at all, the social stigma of failure, particularly for a child coming from a poor home is more likely to ensure that the failed child shall drop off from the next year. It is a method to weed out children who are harshly judged for being ‘weak’ or ‘dull’, which may have a lot to do with the learning environment of the school, the psychological and coping stress on the child, rather than any innate deficiency in the child. More often, failure and expulsion of the child hides the deficiencies of the learning environment of the class room. That is why the CCE, which continuously monitors the learning levels of the child and helps in timely intervention is far superior educationally to annual or board examination based punishments of failure and expulsions. CCE also takes into account the interests, abilities and talents of the child beyond the school subjects that must be recorded while issuing the completion certificate at the end of the elementary stage (see also Q71). Properly implemented, CCE will ensure that children do not advance without learning better than mindless testing of children. Private schools in particular use the failure and expulsion route to weed out what they call ‘dull’ and ‘weak’ in order to keep their school brand at a premium to charge more fees. The Act attempts to prohibit this malpractice, which has been upheld by the Delhi High Court decision in relation to a prominent private school of Delhi, mentioned previously.
Can the curriculum that is taught vary from place to place?
The curriculum must follow some basic principles which have been laid down in the Act, including be in line with Constitutional values and designed to develop a child's full potential.
Who will prescribe the curriculum and evaluation systems at the state level?
The state governments shall have to specify academic authorities that will lay down curriculum and evaluation procedures at the state level. These could be SCERTs or other academic institutions of the state. The state curriculums must however be prepared according to certain common principles of content and process described in Section 29(2).
Does the Act mandate a national curriculum framework?
Yes, under Section 7(6a), the central government has to develop a framework of national curriculum with the help of academic authorities of state governments. This is significant since the present practice of the NCERT preparing the NCF was of an advisory nature; under the Act, it has become mandatory, and shall involve the state governments too.
What about innovation and research?
Providing technical support and resources to the state governments for promoting innovations, research, planning and capacity building is a task assigned to the central government (Section 7(6c)). Model Rule 19(2)(b) prescribes that a teacher may perform the tasks of curriculum formulation, development of syllabi, preparation of training modules and text book development, in a manner that these tasks do not interfere with his/her regular teaching.
How is child defined in the Act?
The term ‘child’ in the Act means a child in the age group of 6-14 years.
If there are no Board examinations, how will children be certified when they complete elementary education?
The procedure for certification is described in the respective State RTE Rules. The Model Rules says that the certificate will include the Pupil Cumulative Record of a child which will contain the talents and abilities of the child beyond school subjects. The implication is that such a cumulative record, spanning eight years of elementary stage shall be kept for each child, and teachers shall be facilitated through trainings and other means to fulfill this task.
If a 13 year old child wants to join a school, will she be asked to leave in one year when she attains 14 years of age?
No. The Act guarantees the completion of elementary education. It means therefore that the child can continue to study till she has completed class 8, irrespective of her age at that time.
How will a child, who was previously out of school, but now enrolled in one, cope up with the studies?
The Act makes it the responisbility of the school to provide a child with "special training" in the school premises to enable her to come upto her age appropriate class. In other words, a 10 year old has the right to be enrolled in class 4 while she attends remedial classes provided by the school in the same premises till she is able to be mainstreamed. This could take 3 months to 2 years.
Is it true that no child can be expelled or failed?
No school, governmental or private, can detain (fail) or expel any child at the elementary stage.
The Delhi High Court has already given a verdict on this on the basis of the Act (April 7, 2010), against St. Xavier’s School, Delhi, which had to take back all the children they had declared failed and expelled from the school