The State Government's decision to promote all students of classes I to IX this academic year in consideration of the extraordinary circumstances prevailing over the COVID 19 pandemic has brought huge relief to parents, but a section of teachers is worried that this could turn counter-productive in the long run.
The governments announcement in itself is not a matter of surprise since such an approach has been adopted even when the students take up the examinations. The difference, of course, is that students are spared of the trouble of writing exams and the teachers do not have to go through the ordeal of carrying out the valuation, a headmaster of a government high school in Thuraiyur Union said.
A section of teachers is not satisfied with the all pass announcement. This section feels that the consolidated score of the students in the half-yearly exams and the revision exams could have been the basis for ranking the students even if there is no scope to fail any of them.
The teachers say there is little that they are able to do to improve the quality as they face pressure from all sides - the headmaster, students, parents, and the education department. On the one hand, the State Government had upgraded the contents of all the classes with the lofty intention of increasing the capability of the students on a par with that of their peers in Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) system. On the other, the system does not permit filtering of students who do not cope up with the improved content. The ground reality is that the teachers who seek progress and advocate the filtering mechanism are anathema to the existing system, a senior teacher lamented.
Heeding the request of 25 States, the Centre amended Right to Education Act last year to provide leverage for the State governments to fail students. Most of the States had sought an amendment reasoning out that a comprehensive evaluation of students was not possible. A Standing Committee appointed by Parliament had advocated rights for the States to fail undeserving students after determining the comprehension ability at different levels.
The Tamil Nadu Government has thought it fit to continue with its 'all pass' policy due to the fear that detention of students would lead to increase in drop out rates in schools, another headmaster pointed out.
"The State Government may be in a leading position in terms of the gross enrolment ratio in higher education. But then, the real intellectual progress is not happening until they complete their schooling, due to the 'all pass' policy. Eventually, but for the small section of bright students who would perform well even without the support of the teachers, the rest would end up acquiring academic degrees without any skill sets and remain jobless all through their lives," he explained.