Statewide examinations for class 7 students in January

The Department of Public Instruction (DPI) will conduct a statewide examination for class 7 students of all government and aided schools in January 2016 to analyse the learning levels of schoolchildren at the higher primary level.

Kimmane Ratnakar, the Minister of State for Primary and Secondary Education who made the announcement on the sidelines of a programme here on Monday, said that he was “not satisfied” with the learning achievements and levels of schoolchildren in the State.
The DPI is holding talks to hold the exam in January next year and would have enough time to prepare for the same in December—a month of holidays. There will be a common paper across Karnataka and valuation will be at the cluster level. The exam in each subject will be for 100 marks.

Section 16 of the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act states that no child can be held back or expelled till the completion of his/her elementary education. Section 30 stipulates that the child should not be subjected to any board examination till he/she completes her board examination.

Ratnakar clarified that students would neither be retained nor given a result based on the test as the aim was not to pass or fail them but to help parents and teachers ascertain a child’s capacity and their performance. The move has been hailed as well as criticised.
The principal of a government school said it was a good decision. “I feel this will help improve results in SSLC exams. We will also get to know which students lag behind and need more help while those who do well can be guided better.”

But G Nagasimha Rao, a child rights activist, argued that not only was the move a “direct violation” of the RTE Act, it would also bring the level of stress from “class 9 and 10 to class 6 and 7”.

“The minister may say the exam will not have marks, but the reality will be very different. Every school will be bound to take the exam seriously and this will automatically put stress on the children. There is already a tendency to segregate high performers from low performers in class 9 in schools. This will take place in lower classes now.”

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