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Chaos, Confusion Over Haryana Govt’s Decision To Hold Annual Exams for Class 8

While the exams will be held for Classes V and VIII in the future, they will be held only for Class VIII this year.

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An order by the Haryana government to hold compulsory board exams for all students of classes 5 and 8 – irrespective of which education board they are studying in – has left students and parents confused. Teachers and principals, too, are just as clueless as to how this will be implemented.

As per the state government’s order dated 4 February, all government and private schools will have to register themselves with the Haryana board to conduct classes 5 and 8 exams before 20 February.

While the exams will be held for classes 5 and 8 in the future, they will be held only for class 8 this year, stated the order.

“All students studying in the government and recognised private schools situated in Haryana need to pass class 8 annual examination conducted by the Board of School Education in Haryana (BSEH) for admission to class 9,” the order said.
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It added that since the board will be conducting annual examinations for class 8 this year, there is no need for internal assessment.

Another circular had been issued on 28 January that highlighted that examinations for Classes 5 and 8 will take place annually. It stated that the examination will be conducted based on NCERT/SCERT books.

Parents, Educators Oppose the Move

Calling the move "outrageous", the principal of a school in Haryana, who did not want to be named, told The Quint that children are very upset at the decision, and even parents have taken a strong stand against it.

"The school is accountable to parents and children about this decision. It is a very last-minute decision. Firstly, not all of us follow NCERT books, and hence, it is a completely new pattern of examinations for the children. Those studying under IB follow a semester system and now they will have to sit for it all at once,” the principal added.

"It is designed like a board examination. We have been told even their centres will be different. Why are they pushing this suddenly? On one hand, the NEP focuses on inquiry-based, experiential learning, and on the other, the government is implementing such examinations. This only encourages rote learning."

Parents said that their children are "deeply disturbed" and do not know what to do.

Nina Kler, whose child is a Class 8 student in a school in Gurugram, said that the order has taken a toll on her child’s mental health. "They have already been jolted by school reopening suddenly and jumping straight into final exams for Cambridge curriculum, and now to have the government make this ridiculous announcement of mandatory board examinations for Class 8 is absolutely preposterous,” she said.

She added that they are already being made to take internal examinations and they would then have to take another examination in a month. The course prescribed for the examinations is very different from what they have been studying all along.

School associations on 9 February filed a petition in the High Court of Punjab and Haryana seeking a stay on the order.

Ekta Sanghi Gupta, PTA Secretary at a school in Gurugram and a parent of a Class 8 student, said that there are a number of issues with the order, but the biggest of them all is that it was very sudden. She said that this last-minute information is stressing out children who are already anxious.

CBSE and ICSE Express Reservations Against the Decision

According to a report by The Indian Express, the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) and the Council For The Indian School Certificate Examinations (CISCE) have spoken up against the move. The CBSE has conveyed its doubts over the proposal to the Ministry of Education (MoE), while the CISCE directly wrote to the Haryana government disagreeing with the decision.

“All (school) boards function on a different set of syllabus, pattern and teaching and they cannot be clubbed under one roof,” Gerry Arathoon, Chief Executive and Secretary of CISCE, told the newspaper.

Meanwhile, a CBSE official said that the MoE had asked for its comments regarding the Haryana government’s decision. The official said that the amendment to RTE Act permits state governments to conduct examinations for Classes 3, 5, and 8, but implementing this for schools that are affiliated to other boards can create difficulties.

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