CBSE yet to enforce no homework order, irks HC

Chennai: The Madras High Court pulled up the CBSE for not issuing a circular to all affiliated schools to implement the court’s recent order banning homework for students of classes I and II.

“The Central Board of Secondary Education has not understood the seriousness of this case and the directions issued by the court. CBSE authorities think they are like CBI but that’s not so,” Justice N Kirubakaran said.

He said the CBSE secretary should appear in the court if the circular was not issued by 17 August.

The court also directed the appearance of education secretaries of Tamilnadu and Puducherry if they failed to respond to a circular issued by the central government in connection with the no homework rule by that date.

Justice Kirubakaran passed the direction on a petition by advocate M Purushothaman, seeking a direction to the CBSE to follow only NCERT-prescribed syllabus and books.

In an interim order issued 29 May, the judge had directed the Centre to instruct state governments to reduce weight of satchels of school children and do away with homework for classes I and II.

He had also said the use of National Council for Educational Research and Training books be made mandatory.

However, in a subsequent hearing, the CBSE had informed the court that it would implement the no homework order. But the board had also said it had filed an appeal against all other orders, including the direction on use of NCERT books.

When the matter came up for hearing today, the CBSE submitted that the circular on homework was yet to be issued, following which the judge expressed his displeasure.

Petitioner Purushothaman alleged that there was a nexus between the private book publishers, CBSE authorities and private CBSE schools.

“That is reason why they did not move appeal against the Delhi High Court order which said schools can prescribe to books of private publishers. But the authorities have moved an appeal against the order of this court which prohibited books of private publishers,” he charged.

Seeking to expose the quality of books published by private firms, he produced a copy of the general knowledge book prescribed by a private CBSE school in the city for Class II, saying that in an exercise children had to identify pictures of famous film personalities, including Salman Khan and Katrina Kaif. “What general knowledge they try to inculcate by giving such exercises?” the petitioner asked.