Class 6th to 8th Textbooks: J&K High Court Gives Green Light

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In a landmark decision, the High Court of Jammu and Kashmir has upheld the directive of the J&K Board of School Education (BOSE), compelling all private schools to prescribe textbooks published by the Board for students in classes 6th to 8th.

This ruling comes after the petitioner, the J&K Private Schools United Front, challenged the JKBOSE’s notification dated 26th August 2022, which mandated the use of JKBOSE-published textbooks.

The Legal Battle

The petitioner, representing private educational institutions, contested the notification that required private schools to implement JKBOSE textbooks for classes 6th to 8th. However, Justice Sanjay Dhar deemed the plea without merit and dismissed it. The court based its decision on Rule 11 of the School Education Rules of 2010, stating that it is incumbent upon every school to follow the curriculum and textbooks prescribed by the Jammu and Kashmir Board of School Education.

The Board’s Authority

The resolution adopted by the Affiliation Committee of the Board reinforces the necessity of adhering to the Rule, making it compulsory for all schools affiliated with the Board to use textbooks prescribed and published by JKBOSE. The court emphasized that the impugned notification had the approval of the competent authority.

Moreover, non-compliance with JKBOSE’s instructions or orders, as well as the non-adoption of JKBOSE-prescribed textbooks and curricula by academic institutions, could lead to disciplinary action, including the imposition of penalties up to Rs. 50,000, or both. These measures aim to ensure strict implementation of JKBOSE’s directives.

Board’s Statutory Power

The High Court’s ruling underscores that the Jammu and Kashmir Board of School Education possesses statutory power to prescribe textbooks, including their publication. This authority allows the Board to make it mandatory for affiliated schools to exclusively use textbooks prescribed and published by JKBOSE.

Importantly, private schools and other publishers do not possess the right to compel the Board to prescribe textbooks published by private entities. This prescription of textbooks by the Board does not infringe upon the rights of private school owners or publishers, as long as JKBOSE retains the power to do so.

Ensuring Uniformity in Education

The court acknowledged the importance of the Board’s policy decisions and guidelines regarding curriculum, syllabus, and textbook prescription for schools affiliated with JKBOSE. It emphasized that the courts should refrain from interfering in these matters, as it could undermine the efforts of various stakeholders, including educationists.

Allowing schools to choose textbooks freely could lead to chaos and confusion, creating a lack of uniformity in the education system throughout the Union Territory. The High Court agreed with the Board’s observation that the practice of prescribing textbooks from different private publishers by various private schools results in non-uniformity in the curriculum taught. This could also lead to instances of controversial content being included in some textbooks, potentially disrupting the quality of education.

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