Board exams for classes 5, 8 set off furore in State

It would add stress and even inferiority complex to students from marginalised sections, warn experts.
Board exams for classes 5, 8 set off furore in State

Chennai

The State government took a U-turn and decided to adhere to the recent directions of Union Human Resource Development Ministry on conducting board exams for students of classes 5 and 8 to avoid earning the ire of the Centre and ensure speedy release of pending central education funds, sources said.

Earlier this year, School Education Minister KA Sengottaiyan had assured that there would not be board exams for students of class 5 and 8. However, on Friday, the government passed an order bringing in board exams for these classes. The State’s move to toe the Centre’s line has created a political debate in the State, with the Opposition and the academicians slamming the State government.

“After NEET and NEXT, board exams for classes 5 and 8 have brought criticism for the ruling government. It is for the party top brass to have a discussion on the subject,” said an AIADMK legislator. Condemning the government, AMMK general secretary TTV Dhinakaran said that the move would increase the stress among students and jeopardise the education of female students in rural areas. The RK Nagar MLA said that the State must take it up with the Centre that board exams would have adverse effects on the children. Dhinakaran also urged the authorities to cancel the Government Order.

PB Prince Gajendra Babu, general secretary, State Platform for Common School System – Tamil Nadu (SPCSS-TN), said that the Tamil Nadu government should adopt no-detention until the completion of elementary education. “Detention is not a deterrent, especially for children below the age of 14. Detention at this age group would be a great challenge to the marginalised, especially girl children, to pursue higher education,” he said. Pointing out that the policy of no-detention was evolved only after taking into consideration several factors that include socioeconomic background and difficulties faced by girl children, he added, “If there are problems, identifying the difficulties in learning faced by children and addressing the issues only would prevent the school dropouts.” He also noted authorities must ensure smooth and happy school life without the stress of examination and detention at least up to the completion of elementary education.

Echoing similar views, Tamil Nadu Teacher’s Association President PK Ilamaran said students studying in classes 5 and 8 do not have the maturity to understand what a board exam was.“In addition, they may develop inferiority complex when they are detained in the same class after seeing fresh students,” he said. However, Ilamaran welcomed the government stand that there was a time frame of three years to conduct full-fledged board exams for class 5 and 8 students. He also said that the Government Order was unclear about the initiative to conduct board exams at the elementary level. “This has created a lot of confusion among the parents,” he added.
Move will improve skills of teachers,students, says Minister Sengottaiyan

Meanwhile, justifying the decision to bring in compulsory board exams for class 5 and 8 students, School Education Minister KA Sengottaiyan said that the move would improve learning skills and teaching skills of children and teachers respectively. Reacting to the School Education Department’s initiative, he said, “Though board exams for class 5 and 8 students would begin this year, we have a time period of three years to implement it fully,” he added. Stating that the results of the board exams to class 5 and 8 would be published only after three years, the Minister added that the students would not have to pay any fee for these exams.

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