The enrolment myth
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Arguably, this may be an occasion to examine shortcomings in the RTE Act. Could it be that continuous comprehensive evaluation (CCE), enshrined in the law, with its promise of holding no child back, has led to a relaxation in classroom rigour? Interestingly, while Human Resource Development Minister Pallam Raju refused to put the blame on CCE, he did note that he receives representations from parents to roll it back. Assessment of CCE's possibly deleterious effect should, however, be located in a wider appraisal of the curricular design. Experts contend that India's curriculum moves too fast and is not configured to stop and carry along children who may be lagging. The system requires of the teacher that she teach to the syllabus, not to the classroom's abilities — so she must race to complete the assigned syllabus by the schooling year's end, whether her students have kept pace or not. Year on year, this can increase the student's inability to measure up to age-appropriate learning. The system just races on, delivering finally to the desired level of academic achievement a small minority of students — most of them with tutoring support, as other findings by Pratham indicate.