The government of Tamil Nadu issued an order on Friday stating that students in classes 5 and 8 will have to give public exams at the end of the year.

Wont publish results for class 5 8 board exams for 3 years TN Edu MinisterImage for representation/PTI
news Education Saturday, September 14, 2019 - 17:29

Tamil Nadu’s School Education Minister KA Sengottaiyan on Saturday said that the government of Tamil Nadu will not publish the board exam results of the students of classes 5 and 8 for the next three years.

He was speaking to the media after attending the Teachers’ Day celebrations at a private school in Chennai. Sengottaiyan said that in February 2019, the central government had ordered that public exams be conducted for classes 5 and 8 students in government, government-aided and other categories of schools across the country. Education falls under the Concurrent List, meaning both the Central and state can legislate on this subject.

“As far as government of Tamil Nadu is concerned, we are going to give an exemption for three years. Students can write these public exams but the results of students who passed and those who failed in the exams will not be released for the first three years,” he said. The Minister added that this was being done so that students could have time to improve their skills gradually over this period of time, and said that this has received good feedback from parents. In other words, from the current academic year until 2021-22, students of classes 5 and 8 will write board exams but the results will not be published.  

He was clarifying a point from the Government Order passed by the state government on Friday.

Tamil Nadu’s GO also addresses detention of students who fail these exams.

The RTE amendments, effected by the Union government earlier this year, specifically prohibit schools from expelling students who fail their exams at the end of classes 5 and 8. This as education has been made compulsory for students until the age of 14. And while the RTE amendments allow for detentions in case students fail these exams, the Tamil Nadu government’s GO gives students in the state a breather for the next three years.  

According to the GO, students of government, government-aided schools and all other schools which follow the Tamil Nadu state syllabus shall have board exams at the end of classes 5 and 8, and if a child fails in the exam, he or she shall be allowed to sit for a re-examination within two months. The GO also provides that after three academic years (2022-23), the schools can detain a student in the same class if he or she fails in the re-examination.

“Students who study from classes 1 to 8 and then in higher and higher secondary classes are not able to face the (competitive) exams set by the central government. Hence public exams in classes 5 and 8 will help teachers assess the learning ability of the students,” Sengottaiyan explained.

However, experts say that board exams for classes 5 and 8 would put the burden of academic performance on the students. “It may also lead to mushrooming of a lot of tuition centres and the pressure on the children will mount at an early age,” says an education expert requesting anonymity. She adds that there is a possibility of the number of dropouts increasing too.

“It all comes down to what the exam tests for. If it’s rote learning again, we’re doomed. If it’s skill based, then it may be a good thing after a period of adjustment. A lot of anxiety and confusion may persist in the short term. Is the onus of learning and passing only on children when everything and everyone around them is inefficient?” she questions.