No detention policy (NDP) – a wider perspective
Print media often reports about the discontinuation of the no detention policy till class 8th. I have found that many people read this news from the newspaper and express their relief and pleasure about it. Unfortunately, draft education policy also states to limit this for up to class 5th. What is this No Detention Policy? Why do I support it?
The policy states that the children would not be failed till class 8th or till they meet the age of 14. There are hue and cry among the teachers, parents and even in policy makers against this policy. They think that NDP is responsible for the decrease in standard of learning among the children in this age group.
NDP and the need of paradigm shift
Why do I favor it? When we blame NDP for the deteriorating standard of education it means we believe in teaching for testing. The opponent of NDP believes that children cannot study well unless they have the fear of examination in their mind. Shouldn’t the learning itself be the final aim of education? Can’t we imagine an education system which celebrates the joy of learning rather than the fear of examination?
NDP and protection from malnourishment.
Evidence suggest that India has the highest population of malnourished children in the world. In fact, half the population of malnourished children of the world resides in India. The country is considered as the capital of malnourished children in the world. A country with such a robust economic growth can be shameful for this status of our children. The NDP is somewhere linked to this challenge. The NDP helps the students and particularly the girl students to stay in the school for a longer period of time. This somewhere converts into the delayed marriage of a girl. The delayed marriage of a girl is related to the birth of a healthy child and thus it protects the children from the malnourishment.
NDP and Conversion rate
The evidence suggests that the conversion rate in the higher education is abysmal in India. It is around 16 percent. It means that out of every 100 students who enrolled in class 1 only 16 could reach to higher education. This is low when we compare it with the conversion rate in the developed countries. I have observed that a push to the next class motivates the children to study further. Those who complete class 8th have a higher probability to complete class 10th and so on and so forth.
NDP and the Right of the children
The NDP should also be seen as the right of the children in a context of the contest for space in the urban India. Space means a space where children can run, play, walk, mix with other students and teachers etc. This space is invaluable in the context of the living condition of the children coming from the lower socio-economic status. One room is shared by many families and if it is one family then by many members of the same family. There is no proper toilet and drinking water facility available. The security of the children is a major issue. Both the parents stay out for the work for longer hours. Their absence makes the children vulnerable to exploitation.
NDP and the voice of marginalized.
I have spoken to many parents who desperately want their children to continue the education and secure a degree at least of class 10th. A Parent told me and I quote “I am working as a house maid and I want my daughter to secure a school degree and do some vocational course so that she could secure a job”. The modern market economy gives a lot of importance to certification. One needs to have some certificates even for the unskilled job. Do we want to deprive the mass of this certificate?
I have observed that the larger community who is in favor of NDP has no voice. They are not vocal. Their view doesn’t make a space in the media. The major opponents of this policy are the so-called ‘middle class’ who believes in the philosophy of winning. The winning is only possible when somebody suffers a defeat. When all the students of a class are promoted to the next class this group of parents is upset as they could not taste the victory over other.
The NDP has to be seen as the right of the children of having a safe and enjoyable environment in the school. The opponent of NDP has to be answered by the academia and the child right activists in the country. If NDP would be revoked it would also highlight the love for revivalism of the traditional sense of education which was primarily based on exclusion. Let’s don’t throw the baby with the bath water. Sensitize our teachers, parents, administrator, and students for a new paradigm of learning. This new paradigm should be based on the principle of a joy of learning.