Will take decision on assessment for grades 1-9 in 2 days: Karnataka minister | Bengaluru News – Times of India

BENGALURU: A decision on assessing students of classes 1 to 9 in state board schools will be taken in the next two days, primary and secondary education minister S Suresh Kumar said on Monday.
He was speaking after the department met with stakeholders to discuss the issue. Besides education department officials, 44 people including representatives of unaided schools, parents’ associations and educationists were present at the meeting.
“Everyone gave their opinion. We will take all of them into consideration before coming to a conclusion,” Kumar said on Monday.
A press release from the minister’s office said most of the delegates favoured some sort of assessment. Most believed that without assessment, it will be impossible to judge where children are lagging and how to equip them for the next class. They also fear children will lose interest in the next grade if learning gaps are not addressed.
While many other states have scrapped exams and promoted children from grades 1-9 due to the second wave of the pandemic, Karnataka is yet to take a decision. Last year, students of these grades were not assessed.
The Right to Education Act (RTE) bans exams for classes 1-4 and 6-7 but says students should be assessed through continuous evaluation. An amendment was made in 2019 which allowed exams for classes 5 and 8.
Private schools say they should be allowed to hold summative assessments this year. The Association of Primary and Secondary Schools of Karnataka (KAMS), in a letter, has told the department that it’s unfair on children who have been attending classes regularly not to conduct exams. The association suggested that the government can provide strict SOPs to conduct assessments.
‘Easy assessments’

Parents associations said while examinations are barred under RTE, some sort of easy assessment can be held for all classes. “However, the department has to ensure that private schools should not use it as a tool to collect fees from students,” said BN Yoganand, member, Karnataka Private Schools Parents Associations Coordinating Committee.
Niranjanaradhya VP, senior fellow, Centre for Child and Law, National Law School of India University, said, “According to RTE and the amendment made to it in 2019, exams cannot be conducted in classes 1-4 and 6-7.”
He added: “Even while assessments can be done for class 5 and 8, in case a child does not perform well, the state government must hold another exam in two months’ time and help prepare the child for it. The state must put all these plans in place before making an announcement. Learning is more important that testing as the primary objective of the test is to identify learning difficulties.”
The department also noted that learning was not uniform across the state. Vidyagama was conducted only for two months and there’s no data on the amount of learning in private schools. Some representatives suggested formative assessments to test children.
Some teacher’s associations said that it is unfair to hold exams for classes 1-5 as there has been no learning at all in these classes. Niranjanaradhya said he endorsed this view and added that assessment for these grades are “nothing but victimising children”. “There’s a lack of uniformity in learning this year and it’s advisable to promote all children in these grades,” he said.

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Sagar Biswas

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