K'taka govt's decision to hold public exams for Classes 5, 8 triggers new row

BANGALORE:  The Karnataka education department's plan to hold public exams for Classes 5 and 8 has sparked a new round of controversy in the state following a debate over the saffronization of the syllabus and the inclusion and deletion of lessons during the syllabus review.

The decision has drawn criticism from some parents and student organisations, who worry that it will put pupils in an unfair situation.

S. Lakshminarayana, the president of the Karnataka Pradesha Samanya Naagarikara Dhvani Vedike, has objected B.C. Nagesh, the education minister, over the decision. He said on Friday that this was a discretionary decision made at the end of the academic year.

He further said that this move is against the National Education Policy (NEP). This created panic among crores of parents and students. He demanded that the ruling be overturned.

Public exams are being administered by the Karnataka Education Department to students following the state curriculum. The public examinations are not conducted for students who are entrolled in CBSE schools. The parents are claiming that it amounts to discrimination.

On December 12, the notice for holding the tests was made public. How the study would study for the public exams in two months has been questioned. It is alleged that the majority of parents whose children attend government schools are unaware of the trend.

Lakshminarayana said that minister Nagesh had taken the determination only to show off during the election time. Minister Nagesh had made clear that public exams for fifth and eighth-class students are conducted to improve children's learning capacity.

The order in this regard read, the decision was made because it was becoming more challenging to evaluate students' overall performance as part of the ongoing Continuous Comprehensive Evaluation (CCE) programme for students in classes 1 and 9.

Children have been seen to experience anxiety while taking SSLC (class 10) exams because they lack confidence and competence, Minister Nagesh said.  As per the new system, children will write exams like those who appear for exams under CBSE and ICSE syllabus.

The officials said that the exams for students of class 5 & 8 will be sililar to SSLC board exams but they would not be so difficult. It has been determined that no student should fail.

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