Karnataka: HC allows state gov't to conduct board-level assessment for Classes V, VIII

On March 15, a division bench passed an interim order allowing the state government to hold the exams from March 27
Karnataka High Court | (Pic: Express)
Karnataka High Court | (Pic: Express)

The Karnataka High Court has given a nod for conducting Board-level assessments for students of Classes V and VIII. The exams are scheduled to be conducted for the ongoing academic year of 2022-23, starting from March 27, by the Karnataka School Examination and Assessment Board (KSEAB).

The proposal for the assessment was given by the state's Department of School Education and Literacy in a circular in December 2022. It was challenged by the Registered Unaided Private Schools Management Association Karnataka. On March 11, 2023, a single-judge bench of the High Court quashed the circular. However, the case was referred to a division bench, as per a report by The New Indian Express.

On March 15, a bench comprising Justices G Narendar and Ashok S Kinagi stayed the previous order by the single-judge bench and passed an interim order allowing the state government to hold the exams. All the same, "This interim order is subject to further orders to be passed on the appeal filed by the state government against the order of single judge," the court said.

The counsel appearing for the petitioner had argued that the students have not studied several portions mentioned in the Kalika Chetarike booklet, from which the assessment questions are meant to be set. It was presented that the petitioner private schools have not taught several portions mentioned in this book. The counsel also argued that the state government had proposed to frame questions from portions which are not present in the prescribed textbooks.

The state, on the other hand, emphasised that nothing was out of the syllabus. It mentioned that after seeking suggestions from the concerned sources, even the model question papers were prepared from prescribed syllabi and textbooks and were web-hosted. "The petitioners have not responded to them. It is also reiterated that questions would be within the prescribed textbooks and syllabus. An affidavit was filed before the court to that effect," the counsel appearing for the state submitted.

Noting these submissions, the court directed the state to ensure that no questions are framed from outside the prescribed syllabus. It also directed that the results shall be communicated confidentially to the schools and not be publicised. However, the court asked the state government to publicise the nature of exams, mentioning that it does not in any manner impact the advancement of a child's progression to the next class, as per TNIE.

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