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For no fault of the students

For no fault of the students

The government had conducted the examinations based on a favourable order from the division bench of the Karnataka High Court. The Supreme Court has now stayed the order of the High Court.

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Last Updated : 17 April 2024, 00:31 IST
Last Updated : 17 April 2024, 00:31 IST
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Lakhs of students of grades 5,8,9 and 11 who appeared for the board examinations conducted recently by the Karnataka government find themselves in a rut, with the Supreme Court staying the results until further orders. That this has come after the exams were held and even the results had been announced is painful.

Board exams were until now held for students of grades 10 and 12. The government’s unilateral move to extend it to other classes without consultation with the stakeholders was opposed right from the start by the Unaided Private Schools Management of Karnataka and the Organisation for Unaided Recognised Schools, which had brought the matter before the courts.

The government had conducted the examinations based on a favourable order from the division bench of the Karnataka High Court. The Supreme Court has now stayed the order of the High Court. 

While holding that the government order to conduct board examinations was not in consonance with the provisions of the Right to Education (RTE) Act, the apex court said this was a classic instance where the State had created havoc amongst the students, parents, teachers and school managements.

The school managements had argued that the decision was arbitrary as the government had not framed the relevant rules before passing the order, a point that the court found merit in.

The government contended that the purpose behind introducing board examinations or summative assessment was to strengthen the learning outcomes. There was no uniformity in the question papers when the examinations were held at the school level earlier and there was no way of finding out if the teachers had completed the syllabus.

This had adversely impacted the quality of education and learning outcomes, the government said. The government had also clarified that students who had failed the examinations would not be detained, and its actions would be in conformity with the RTE Act.

While both sides have a point, what is paramount is the impact of all this confusion and uncertainty on the students. The government and the courts should not lose sight of this as the examinations have already been conducted on the basis of the High Court’s orders and results announced, too.

Schools are already closed for summer holidays and summoning the students back to write another set of examinations will only create more stress for them.

The students are not at fault in all this and therefore a solution must be found that does not put them to unnecessary hardship. Whichever way the court rules, the government must take to heart a lesson from this episode: It’s wise to consult all stakeholders before taking any decision. 

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