1. Mock Question for UPSC Mains GSM2: No Detention Policy
    1. Body: Why abolish NDP
    2. Alternative-BODY: Why we should not abolish NDP
  3. Conclusion: YES Abolish करना मंगता है!
  4. MISTAKES in the NDP Answer-writing

Mock Question for UPSC Mains GSM2: No Detention Policy

Q2. What is the “no-detention policy” under the Right to Education Act? Examine critically the need to abolish it. 150 words, 10 marks.

शिक्षा अधिकार कानून में ‘बच्चो को पिछली कक्षा में नही रोकने की नीति’ क्या है? इस नीति को खत्म करने की आवश्यकता की जांच करे.

Relevance to the Syllabus of GSM2?

  • Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.
  • Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.


  • Don’t write too long introduction from outside the stadium: 86th Amendment -> right to education -> to implement this act was enacted. 25% reservation to EWS.
  • (DEFINE) The Right to Education Act Section 16 (NOT ARTICLE 16) mandates that “No child admitted in a school shall be held back / detained /failed till class8”. This is known as ‘No detention policy’ (NDP). OR
  • (ORIGIN of the debate to abolish it) Under the right to education act, it is provided that no child can be failed till the class 8. While this ‘no detention policy’ was made with the noble objective to reduce exam stress, stigma of staying in the same class, preventing school dropout and early-child-marriages but it has negative consequences: <BODY: Explain the need to abolish it>

UPSC Mains Answer Writing No-Detention Policy

Body: Why abolish NDP

  1. Instead of the traditional pass/fail type examination, the RTE act provides for a Continuous and comprehensive evaluation (CCE) but teachers to students ratio is not conducive for implementing it, and teachers are overburdened with election and other government duties. Therefore, both teachers and students become lax about the learning outcomes.
  2. NGO Partham’s Annual Status of Education (ASER) report: large number of class5 students can’t read textbook of class Half of class8 students can’t do basic arithmetic.
  3. High level of failure in class9 and 10. Instances of mass-cheating in board exams.
  4. Most of the Government school children can’t excel at JEE, NEET and other competitive exams for higher education since their basic reading and comprehension skills are poor.
  5. Schools no longer temples of education but glorified mid-day meal centres.
  6. TSR Surbamanian report has recommended abolishing the NDP.

Alternative-BODY: Why we should not abolish NDP

  1. If NDP-abolition is not complemented with raising the teachers recruitment, infrastructure, funding and better accountability mechanisms, it may lead to a scenario where weak students will be forced to self-study or join private tuition classes.
  2. State governments declare many public holidays for populism. Government school teachers and children are kept occupied for the whole day for many government functions such as Sports Utsav, Yoga Day, Swachhta Pakhwada etc. As a result, in some states the total number of school days in a year are less than 150. NDP-abolition will lead to large number of students failing in each class.
  3. Could lead to stigmatization and suicide by the weak students.
  4. Mass-copying even in the school exams.
  5. Bihar and Andhra Pradesh state governments provide free bicycle for girls in classs8. If weak girl continues to fail in class7 itself, she’ll be deprived of the cycle and the associated mobility and safety. So, scheme entitlements may have to be linked with age, rather than standard.
  6. May lead to higher dropout ratio and child-marriages.

Conclusion: YES Abolish करना मंगता है!

Question says “Critically examine the need to abolish”, therefore, you should take a stand agree / disagree.

  • Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) #8 aims for full and productive employment for all. But without basic comprehension and arithmetic skill, no young person can’t hope for it. Therefore, removal of NDP, accompanied with raising teaching standards and infrastructure is the need of the hour.  OR
  • Takin cognizance of the aforementioned challenges, Government has proposed RTE (Second amendment) Bill 2017, which allows the state governments to hold regular examination in class 5 and class 8. Failed students will be given additional teaching, followed by a re-examination. If the child fails again, he/she will be held back in the same class. Bill already passed in Lok Sabha (in 2018-July) OR
  • Thus, no detention policy leads to children being promoted to higher class without learning or fear of failure. The scrapping the policy ought to improve learning levels.
  • (DISAGREE) NDP alone is not the reason for poor learning outcomes in the government schools. Given the the peculiar socio-economic problems of rural Indian society viz a viz challenges in the operations of government run primary schools, the time is not yet ripe for abolishing the NDP policy until the other challenges are addressed first.

MISTAKES in the NDP Answer-writing

  • Candidates are listing the pros and cons without taking a stand on whether it should be abolished or not because the question says critically examine the need to abolish it.
  • When Lok Sabha has passed the bill there is no need to write against it
  • Not mentioning upto which class this policy is applicable?
  • Not mentioning about CCE.
  • In the conclusion candidates are giving long list of suggestion and their by crossing the word limit.
  • Candidate digressing to the point such as there is no system of early childhood education therefore students are unable to understand the subject medium in English

Visit Mrunal.org/Mains for more on UPSC Mains Answer-writing for General Studies Paper-2 (GSM2).