TSPSC Karnataka HC cancels board exams

The private management associations contended that administering board exams for students in grades 5, 8, and 9 would instill anxiety and deter students from attending school. They argued against the notification issued by the TSPSC Karnataka HC, which mandated board exams for these classes under the state syllabus. Upholding the plea of private unaided schools, the single judge bench, led by Justice Krishna Dixit, ruled that such exams contradicted the Continuous and Comprehensive Evaluation (CCE) model mandated by the Right To Education Act (RTE) 2009.

These exams were slated to commence on March 11. President Lokesh Talikatte of the Registered Unaided Private Schools Association emphasized that CCE necessitates evaluating students at the school level, aligning with their learning abilities. Conversely, centralized assessments disrupt this process by involving board and taluk-level evaluation, adversely impacting students’ learning trajectories.

Moreover, the associations emphasized the detrimental effects of board exams on student well-being and school attendance. The Karnataka State Examination and Assessment Board had introduced centralized annual exams for grades 5 and 8 in the previous academic year, with class 9 and first-year Pre-University Course (PUC) added in September 2023.

Notably, the notification stipulated non-detention of students failing these exams, with only the students and their parents notified of results. For first-year PUC, supplementary exams would be conducted at the college level for failing students. Additionally, class 9 exams’ question papers would be set by the Karnataka School Quality Assessment and Accreditation Council, with evaluation at the taluk level. Conversely, first-year PUC exams would follow board-set question papers and college-level evaluation.

Recalling the previous academic year, the introduction of annual exams for grades 5 and 8 by the education department led to legal challenges, as private school associations feared undue pressure on students. Despite the TSPSC Karnataka HC initial ruling permitting these exams, subsequent Supreme Court dismissal of petitions allowed their implementation, with provisions for student support and adherence to syllabus guidelines.

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