HC upholds Right to Education norm not to fail child in exam

Reported by Eira Mishra

HC upholds RTE’s norm not to fail child in exam: Bombay High Court dismissed a Public Interest Litigation filed before to challenge a provision of the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act which prohibits failure or expulsion of a child before completion of elementary education i.e. standard eight.

The High Court observed, “A child suffers an intense psychological trauma if he or she is expelled or continued in the same class upon failing in the final examination” while dismissing the PIL. As per section 16 of the Act “no child shall be held back or expelled till completion of elementary school (standard eight)”.

Justice DY Chandrachud and Justice SC Gupte said, “The parliament, which was evidently conscious of the social realities, carefully drafted section 16 of the Right to Education Act so that children are not made victims and don’t lose out on elementary education.” They observed that the policy is fair and proper.

Court observed that “A child who is not allowed to progress to the next standard suffers from an intense psychological trauma resulting in loss of self-worth. Holding back for want of adequate performance assessed with conventional methods like examinations places the child in a position of disadvantage in relation to his or her peers,” Further, “Assessing knowledge merely in terms of performance in examination takes a very narrow view of the purpose of education.” Education must emphasise the need to initiate the child into a holistic pattern of development.

The court added that it is not always a child’s fault when he fails an exam. It said, “In many cases, children are failed or held back due to the inability of parents to shoulder the financial burden of the children’s education.” Citing the above reasons, the court held it fit to reject the petition.

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