Should schools detain non-performers in the same class this year - a debate
This article looks at the debate about whether or not school students who are not scoring minimum marks during this academic year should be detained in the same class and not promoted. On the one hand, detaining them in the light of the pandemic situation across the globe may be an injustice. On the other hand, can a student with extremely poor performance be promoted to the next class?
Overview The government is planning to revise the promotion policies for students and is deciding to detain students who are not performing well. However, due to the pandemic situation across the globe, students have not received a quality education and some have even acquired bad habits post the pandemic, hanging out with peers and returning home late. Consider the fact that students did not sit in the classroom for nearly two years and did not listen to lectures. Many students online did not bother to complete assignments during the pandemic period. Due to this adverse situation, many students are not able to subsequently write quickly in their exams. Many schools were not able to conduct examinations in a genuine manner due to a lack of infrastructure. The students sat down comfortably at home and wrote the answers on paper. For nearly two years, they were not supervised while writing exams. The teachers, too, could not properly access the progress of the students. They could not conduct weekly or monthly tests or orals. So, many students are not well-prepared yet to write an examination confidently. Some students are not able to read and write confidently. Yet the government is planning to detain non-performers in schools to improve education quality. Is this policy fair for students who are still struggling to learn some simple concepts?
Let us see both sides of the coin.
Reasons why students should not fail this year
Difficulties in the learning process Students are not able to learn easily. The students have not been able to grasp some simple concepts due to adverse situations across the globe for two years and studied online. In many schools, the teachers simply sent recorded videos or links on the school app. The students could not personally meet the teachers or easily clarify their doubts online. Many schools could not even conduct virtual classes due to a lack of infrastructure. As they were not able to clarify their doubts for nearly two years, they are not able to understand the advanced concepts. The students cannot appear for an exam confidently when they are not able to learn easily.
Consider a subject like mathematics, which is difficult to learn. Mathematics is one of the toughest subjects in schools, and many students are scared of this subject. It is a subject requiring rigorous practice, and the students could not practice enough for two years. Many students attend extra classes to learn about this subject, but they could not join any tuition classes during the pandemic situation. When the students did not learn the concepts properly in the lower class, then how can they learn the topics taught in the higher class? Students will likely fail in this subject as they cannot understand the advanced concepts.
Lack of good teachers Newly established schools are unable to attract the best teachers, and many teachers resigned during the pandemic due to low pay. Many schools require good and qualified teachers but are not able to recruit the best ones. The students cannot learn effectively from new teachers as they do not possess the knack to teach in an understandable way.
Lack of supervised learning For two years, the students did not study seriously as they were not supervised by the mentors. A student cannot study effectively without a mentor. In the classes, unit tests, period tests, or quizzes are held frequently, so the students prepare for the exam also seriously. This was lacking during the pandemic.
Reasons why students should be detained this year
Identifying the underachievers Some students who are extremely weak in their studies should be seriously considered for detention in the same class so that they can revise the portion thoroughly. That way, they may pass the exam next time if they work even harder. Even if they are not able to learn after repeating the same class, the schools can identify their learning difficulties and accordingly give them scope for learning.
Conclusion If a student is really smart, then he could have learned the concepts easily even without attending physical classes for two years. While it is agreed that an evaluation of students is required to determine whether or not they should be promoted, perhaps those who are weak in their studies can be promoted to the next year and allowed to appear for a supplementary exam. Those who are really performing poorly can be provided with remedial coaching.
I feel detaining students who did not fare well in the examinations and could not get the minimum mark is the best option for a student to learn well. I am not talking this specifically for this year but every year. When I did my schooling, the system of detaining if the student scored less than the minimum percentage that was required for a promotion was in vogue. This procedure of detaining will help the student as he will have a fear of losing one year.
Of course, the conditions during COVID pandemic may be different. But if the system of detention was in force during the pandemic, the students might have given more importance to their online classes also. So I suggest from the 6th standard onward, the system of detention should be put in place.