Just a day before the Class X board examinations begin in Karnataka, state education minister B C Nagesh on Sunday said that no student will be allowed to wear the hijab inside examination halls.
“Following the Karnataka High Court order, we have decided that students wearing hijab or any other religious attire will not be allowed inside the examination hall. They can come to campus wearing the hijab but they need to remove it before entering the hall,” said Nagesh, who visited the Gadag, Bagalkot and Hubballi districts.
The state minority department has also issued an order stating that hijab will not be allowed inside schools and colleges. The high court order does not apply to private schools and colleges as the government has submitted its stand before the court in connection with the matter.
“According to the Karnataka Education Act and the Rules, students should stick to their uniforms and religious sentiments should not play a part. The HC has upheld this rule and so there is no scope for the dress code to be violated,” Nagesh added.
“I spoke to Deputy Director of Public Instruction of Gadag, Bagalkot and Hubballi. They told me that hijab was never a contentious issue and they are hoping that the exams will be conducted smoothly. In case uniforms have not been distributed for a long time, students can wear attires of their choice as long as they do not reflect any religious sentiments. This is also applicable for private students,” said Nagesh.
He added that there no retest will be held for the students who skip exams. But students who fail to obtain pass marks can sit for supplementary exams later. He further said that with Covid having disrupted classes, 80 per cent of the syllabus has been completed and questions have been set from these portions.
Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai, while speaking at Hubballi, said, “Students should not suffer from anxiety. All preparations have been done for the smooth conduct of the SSLC exams which are being held in the interest of the students while taking Covid precautions.”
Meanwhile, in Davangere, an activist called Jasmine Banu staged a protest demanding that students should be allowed to wear the hijab in the examination halls.
According to the education department, 8,73,846 students from 15,387 schools across Karnataka will appear for the board examinations starting on Monday. This includes 8,20,888 freshers and 46,200 private candidates. A total of 4,52,732 male students and 4,21,110 female candidates have registered for the examination. Section 144 will be imposed within 100 meters of the examination halls.