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HC upholds JK BOSE’s right to prescribe school textbooks

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Dismisses petition of private schools challenging this right

Srinagar: J&K High Court has dismissed a petition challenging directions by the authorities to the private schools to prescribe textbooks published by the Jammu and Kashmir Board of School Education.

Justice Sanjay Dhar said while dismissing a petition filed J&K Private Schools United Front said “…it is clear that the policy decisions and guidelines issued by the Board with regard to the matters relating to curriculum, syllabus and prescription of textbooks for the schools affiliated to the Board cannot be interfered with by the courts”.

The petitioner group claimed to be working for the welfare of private educational schools and institutes across J&K.

The court said, otherwise the whole exercise made by various stakeholders including educationists, etc. would become futile.

It said if the schools are at liberty to choose books, it would not only create chaos and confusion but there would not be uniformity in the education system throughout the Union Territory.

“The Board while issuing the notification (directions to all schools to implement books by it) is right in observing that the practice of prescribing textbooks from different private publishers by different private schools results in non-uniformity in curriculum being taught and even instances of controversial content finding way in some textbooks cannot be ruled out,” Justice Dhar said.

“Therefore, the decision of the Board in prescribing the textbooks published by it for use by the schools and students cannot be interfered with by this court,” his judgment said further.

The bench held that the Board has the power to prescribe the courses of instructions, prepare curricula and detailed syllabi and also prescribe textbooks for the pre-primary, elementary, secondary school and high secondary (school graduation) and school examinations and Elementary Teachers Training Courses.

It said that It is true that power of the Board to prescribe courses of instructions, prepare curricula, syllabi and to prescribe textbooks has to be subject to Broad’s educational policies and directions on the subject by the government but the power of the Board to prescribe books which would include publication of textbooks, cannot be diluted or taken away.

The only requirement is that these prescribed textbooks have to be in consonance with the Education Policy in operation as also in conformity with the National Curriculum Framework, the court said.

“The broad educational policies and the instructions of the government from time to time on the subject guide the Board in the prescription of the textbooks,” it said.

 

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