Karnataka High Court permits exam for classes V and VIII as per new assessment method

However, court asks government not to declare results in the public domain and inform parents that no student will be detained

Updated - March 16, 2023 08:45 am IST

Published - March 15, 2023 08:52 pm IST - Bengaluru

A view of the High Court of Karnataka on 19 August 2020.

A view of the High Court of Karnataka on 19 August 2020. | Photo Credit: The Hindu

A Division Bench of the High Court of Karnataka on Wednesday stayed the single judge’s order of quashing the State government’s circular on holding uniform exams for the students of classes V and VIII as per the new method of assessment. It permitted the government to hold exams for the two classes as per the new assessment method after March 27 by rescheduling the dates.

The Bench comprising Justice G. Narendar and Justice Ashok S. Kinagi passed the interim order on the appeals filed by the government, which had questioned the correctness of the single judge’s March 10 order quashing the December 12, 2022, circular on the new assessment method.

From within syllabus

However, the Bench made it clear that no question can be framed for the exams from the subjects outside prescribed textbooks and syllabus, as assured by Vishar R., Commissioner for Public Instruction, in an affidavit before the court.

Also, the Bench said the results of the exam should not be put in public domain and they should be communicated to the respective schools confidentially. Both the government and the schools were directed to publicise that no student would be detained in classes V and VIII even if they fail in the exam, as was clarified in the December 12 circular.

Two contentions

Earlier, K.V. Dhananjay, advocate for some associations of private unaided school managements, defended the single judge’s finding that new method of assessment could be enforced only by way of framing rules under the Right of Children for Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act and not by way of circular. He said schools have no issue if the government conducts the exam as per the new assessment method by framing rules from the next academic year.

However, Additional Advocate-General Dhyan Chinnappa argued that when all the schools, including institutes affiliated to the petitioner-associations, are conducting four formative assessment exams and summative assessment exams as per the circulars issued by the government from time to time, they cannot now contend that the government has to frame rules to make some changes in the method of assessment prescribed in earlier circulars.

“The schools conduct tests at the drop of a hat throughout the year... though the students are used to such tests it is the parents who are pressurised,” the Bench orally observed in response to Mr. Dhananjay’s contention that change in assessment method without following the law would impact the students.

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