The Tamil Nadu government is going to introduce board examinations for the students of class 5 and class 8, in addition to the already existing public exams for students in classes 10, 11 and 12.
According to a circular issued to all the district education offices, the third term exams conducted in schools will henceforth be conducted as public exams. These exams will have common question papers for all the schools in Tamil Nadu. As of now, schools following the Samacheer Kalvi syllabus in Tamil Nadu have the liberty of setting question papers till class 9 within the school itself.
The syllabus for the exams will be the portion taught in the third term, with general questions taken from the portion taught in the first and second term. According to the memo, each paper will be for 60 marks, and will be held for a duration of two hours. However, details about detention if a student fails to pass these exams is yet to be clarified by the department.
The school education department also ordered all district-level education offices to submit the list of students studying in these two classes in all schools — government, government-aided and private — by Wednesday. While students studying in government schools are exempt from paying fees for the exam, students studying in private schools must pay Rs 50 for the class 5 exams and Rs 100 for class 8 exams. Government and government-aided schools which have more than 20 students taking the board exams will be considered for allocation to examination centres, stated the memo.
However, Tamil Nadu School Education Minister KA Sengottaiyan's tweet on Wednesday evening stated that the decision to introduce board exams was not final yet. "The decision to conduct board exams for classes 5 and 8 will be taken only in a meeting with the ministers. Only if the School Education department issues a government order in this regard, public exams can be conducted," he wrote in Tamil.
It was in a similar move in 2017 that the Tamil Nadu government introduced board exams for class 11. The reason cited for this was the importance of class 11 syllabus for competitive exams. Many schools allegedly skipped the portion for class 11 altogether and focussed only on class 12 in order to push their students to secure state-level ranks in board exams. The introduction of board exams for class 11 was aimed at breaking that trend.