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Karnataka High Court Quashes Board Exam Notification

Karnataka High Court Quashes Board Exam Notification
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In a significant development, the Karnataka High Court has nullified the notification issued by the school education department for conducting board exams for classes 5, 8, 9, and 11 under the state board syllabus. The ruling, delivered by a single judge bench headed by Justice Krishna Dixit, favored the arguments put forth by registered associations of private unaided schools. The associations contended that holding board examinations for these classes contradicts the continuous and comprehensive evaluation (CCE) model mandated by the Right To Education Act (RTE) 2009.

The scheduled examinations, set to commence from March 11, faced opposition from private unaided schools, asserting that the CCE model promotes evaluations at the school level rather than through board exams. Lokesh Talikatte, President of the Registered Unaided Private Schools Association, emphasized that conducting exams at the board and taluk levels disrupts the intended learning curve of students.

Private management associations further argued that board exams for classes 5, 8, and 9 could induce anxiety and fear among students, potentially discouraging them from attending school. The Karnataka State Examination and Assessment Board had introduced ‘centralized annual examinations’ for classes 5 and 8 in the previous academic year, while a government notification in September 2023 extended this practice to class 9 and the first PUC (Pre-University Course).

According to the notification, students failing in these examinations will not face detention. The results will be communicated only to the students and their parents. However, for the first PUC examination, a supplementary exam will be conducted at the college level for students who fail to achieve passing marks.

The state government’s guidelines specify that question papers for class 9 exams will be set by the Karnataka School Quality Assessment and Accreditation Council, with evaluation at the taluk level. For the first PUC examination, question papers will be set by the pre-university (PU) board, with evaluations taking place at the college level.

This ruling follows a similar scenario in the previous academic year when private school management associations challenged the government’s order introducing annual exams for classes 5 and 8. Despite legal battles, the Karnataka High Court allowed the government to conduct board exams for these classes, with specific directives on result communication, syllabus adherence, and provision of remedial classes for students in need. The Supreme Court also dismissed the petition against these exams, granting the state the authority to proceed.

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