Ministry of Prakash Javadekar has taken up the cause of improving the slipping standard of education.
Mid-day meal was introduced for school students to check drop-out rates and provide children from economically weaker sections with nourishment. But now schooling appears to have become more about food and less about education, Union Minister for Human Resources Development Prakash Javadekar said today amid a controversy about tying up mid-day meals with Aadhaar number. His ministry, he said, is now planning a bill which would allow the detention of students who do not reach a minimum level of learning at Classes V and VIII.
Many schools have become mid-day meal schools and students are not failed or detained in a particular class since the passage of the Right to Education law, the minister told members in Rajya Sabha during Question Hour. "These schools were reduced to coming, eating and going," Mr Javadekar added.
The states, the minister said, are demanding a change in the current no-detention policy. It is a serious problem that a child of Class VI is unable to read a lesson meant for a student of Class II or a student of Class VII is unable to solve the mathematics question for Class III, Mr Javadekar said.
He said his ministry has taken up the situation as a challenge and now "Learning Outcomes" for all classes have been brought in. To improve quality of education, it has been decided that states which take steps to improve standards, will get additional funds under Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, the minister added.
The ministry of Mr Javadekar - who was said to be handpicked by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to replace Smriti Irani - has taken up the cause of improving the slipping standard of education. Earlier this year, the ministry made Class 10 board exams compulsory for students of the CBSE (Central Board of Secondary Education) and then introduced a "uniform pattern" of exams and evaluation from Class 6. The measures, Mr Javadekar said, were taken following demand from both parents and teachers.
Mid-day meal has been made a legal entitlement by a 2001 order of the Supreme Court and reports of the government's making Aadhaar mandatory for it had triggered concerns from activists and protests from opposition.