BANGALORE: The state government’s proposal to hold public examinations for Classes 5 and 8 as a means to check quality of education has met with criticism from school heads and experts. They believe it will only burden children more.
Primary and Secondary Education Minister Kimmane Rathnakar announced the decision after his meeting with Union Minister for Human Resource Development Smriti Irani, who has assured the state that the proposal will be placed before the Central Advisory Board of Education (CABE), the policy think-tank.
“As it stands now, the no-detention policy has affected the quality of education and there is no uniform pedagogy. We have mooted taluk-level or district-level exams for the two classes as a mechanism to check quality of education. Right now, class-level exams do not have any supervision,” Commissioner for Public Instruction Mohammad Mohsin told Express.
Public examination for Class 7 was scrapped several years ago. Students of the state-recommended syllabus take the Secondary School Leaving Certificate (SSLC) exam conducted for Class 10 by the Karnataka Secondary Education Examination Board. No-detention policy, which is a part of the Right to Education (RTE) Act, prescribes that no student should be failed till Class 8.
Don’t Do This, Say Schools
Shakuntala Katre, honorary secretary (academics) of MES Institutions, cast doubts on the whether Class 5 and Class 8 children are ready for public exams. “How many exams are they supposed to take? The SSLC exam is bad enough. We know the rate of suicides connected with exam tension. Any serious student will be serious at any point in time,” Katre said.
The government’s idea is against the Constitution and violates the RTE, according to B M English School Principal K S V Subramanyam. “I don’t welcome this. The government abolished public exams for Class 7 because it was not good for children. Morally, I don’t think children should have to write a public examination for Class 5!”
Karnataka Unaided School Managements Association (KUSMA) Vice-President Sathya Murthy said the government’s proposal contradicts the no-detention policy. “On one hand, you make a law that no student should be failed till Class 8. Then, you propose public exams. Are we expected to not fail kids even in public exams?” he asked.
Geetha Pandit, headmistress of Bangalore High School in Jayanagar, believes public exams make students serious. “There will be some exam fear and there will be maintenance of standards. It will also train kids to face higher exams, such as the second pre-university exam.”
By the government’s own admission in its analytical report, one out of five children in Classes 7-10 are lost in transition. The loss from Class 7 of 2009 to Class 10 of 2012 across all schools in Karnataka was 19.85 per cent. This includes 20.23 per cent boys and 19.44 per cent girls.