Updated: February 21, 2022 12:08:41 pm
The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) and the CISCE have expressed strong reservations against the Haryana Government’s proposal to hold annual exams for Class 8 students in all government and private schools, irrespective of the education board they are affiliated to.
While the CBSE is learned to have conveyed its doubts over the proposal to the Ministry of Education (MoE), the CISCE has written directly to the Haryana Government disagreeing with the latter’s decision.
There are nearly 1,300 CBSE schools and 26 CISCE-affiliated schools in the state. CISCE conducts the ICSE exam for Class 10 students and the ISC exam for Class 12 students.
“All (school) boards function on a different set of syllabus, pattern and teaching and they cannot be clubbed under one roof,” Gerry Arathoon, Chief Executive and Secretary of CISCE, told The Indian Express.
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A CBSE officer said that the MoE had recently asked the board for its comments on the Haryana Government’s move. “The amendment to RTE Act now permits the state government to conduct the assessment for classes 3, 5 and 8, but to implement this for all schools including those affiliated to other Boards can create practical difficulties for the latter,” the officer said.
“Moreover, in line with the new National Education Policy, CBSE is anyway planning assessment for students for Classes 3, 5 and 8 next year. So why have our affiliated schools first appear for the Haryana Board assessment and then CBSE? This can create an unnecessary hassle for the students,” the officer added.
Sources said the MoE, when the vice-chairman of the Board of School Education, Haryana (BSEH) met School Education Secretary Anita Karwal earlier, has already told the Haryana government that it cannot conduct examinations for schools affiliated with CBSE.
In October 2021, BSEH proposed the conduct of board exams for classes 5 and 8 in all schools in Haryana in order to monitor students’ progress and to conduct a standardised assessment of the learning outcomes.
The plan and the problem
The Haryana government isn’t exactly wrong in wanting to hold exams for classes 5 and 8 since the RTE Act amendment of 2019 empowers the state governments to do that. The Act had previously banned the practice of holding children back in elementary school, but the amendment scrapped the ban and allowed each state to frame its own policy on it. The problem has arisen since Haryana government is now insisting on holding exams even for private schools affiliated to other schools boards.
The decision sparked controversy among the private schools in the state affiliated to CBSE and CISCE boards. Associations of private school management have opposed this move insisting that a school affiliated with one board cannot have affiliation with another to conduct board exams.
The state government withdrew the order last month after a few schools approached the High Court. However, on January 18, the government brought out a notification to amend the Right to Education Act and appointed SCERT in Haryana as the “Academic Authority” to conduct exams for Classes 5 and 8. The SCERT, on January 28, entrusted BSEH with the responsibility.
As per the state government’s order, all government and private schools will have to register themselves with the Haryana board to conduct class 5 and 8 exams before February 20.
Aggravated by this development, school associations on February 9 filed a petition in the High Court of Punjab and Haryana seeking a stay on the order. The first hearing was on February 10 and the court has reserved its decision on the matter until the next hearing on April 4.
Anil Kaushik, the petitioner and the President of Progressive Private Schools Association, Haryana said that the government’s decision is a violation of RTE Act’s Section 30(1) which says no child shall be required to pass any board examination till completion of elementary education. He also contended that a school affiliated with one Board cannot have affiliation with another.
When contacted, a senior officer of the Haryana Government said that they are examining the issue as the matter is still pending with the High Court.
(With inputs from Sukhbir Siwach)
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