Chennai: The Tamil Nadu Government on Friday issued an order making public examination mandatory for school students of class 5 and 8 from the current academic year. The policy decision ignores the anguish of child rights campaigners and the opinion of prominent educationists that young students should not be overloaded in academics.
The Principal Secretary, School Education Department, Pradeep Yadav stated that GO no 164 dated September 13 issued as per amendment to the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act, 2009, which stated that there shall be a regular examination in the fifth class and in the eighth class at the end of every academic year. If a child fails in the examination he shall be granted opportunity for re-examination within a period of two months from the date of declaration of the result. The appropriate Government may decide not to hold back a child in any class till the completion of elementary education. And no child shall be expelled from a school till the completion of elementary education.
Based on the amendment, the Central Government issued a notification in the Gazette that the new rule would be implemented from March 1, 2019. In the GO no. 164, the School Education Department stated that public examination for students of class five and eight would be implemented from the current academic year (2019-2020) in all the schools under the Department including government, government aided, self financed schools, matriculation schools following state curriculum, Adi-dravida and Corporation schools. The Directorate sought permission from the government to conduct examination, fixing of fees and guidelines.
However, the Department considered the recommendation of Director of Primary Education not to detain any students who fail in the public examinations for three years from the current academic year. The Department also directed the concerned Directors and officials to take necessary action to conduct the examinations.
According to experts, the only relief in the GO is the child will not be expelled from the school till the completion of elementary school. However, the students may end up remaining in the school doing either fifth class or eighth class for many years till they pass the public examination.
Speaking to Deccan Chronicle, educationist PB Prince Gajendra Babu said the GO is arbitrary and violates the rights of the children. The children are forced to face public examination at the age of 10 years itself. Bowing to the pressure of the Central Government, the Tamil Nadu government introduced board exams for class 11 in 2017.
Following suit, the State Government is now introducing board examination for students of Class five and eight. This will affect the interest of the children and increase the dropout rate.
He recalled that when the move was proposed by Central Government in 2016, the government under the leadership of late CM J Jayalalithaa had opposed the move.