The Madras High Court on August 20, 2018 ordered the Central Board of Secondary Education to publicise in media that stringent action would be taken against institutes not following the board's 'no homework' rule for class I and II students.
The order was passed by Justice N Kirubakaran on a plea by advocate M Purushothaman seeking direction to the CBSE to follow only those books and syllabus, which have been prescribed by the National Council of Educational Research and Training.
Key Details of the hearing
• During the hearing, the CBSE produced a copy of the circular, which read that it had issued similar circulars on September 15, 2004, and on September 12, 2016, stating that no homework should be assigned to students studying in classes I and II.
• The CBSE affiliation bylaws also state that the schools affiliated to the board must satisfy its advisory of no school bag and homework for students up to class II.
• The board also stated that in compliance of the directions of the high court, it has once again reiterated that schools may ensure that no homework is given in class III.
• It also reiterated that since NCERT is an academic authority for classes I to VIII, all schools may ensure that CBSE circular dated April 17, 2007, on reducing the school bag load and homework for children, is thoroughly followed.
On being questioned by the HC judge on the mechanism CBSE has prepared to ensure that all the institutes implement the rule, the counsel for the board said that they would act whenever they are "put to notice of such violation."
Refusing to accept the contention, the judge said "people are considering CBSE as a premier board, but it is unfortunate that you do not even have a system to check such violations."
The judge pointed out that there are over 18,000 schools affiliated to CBSE, but the board has the staff strength of only 1,200. “With such a low staff how could you ensure implementation of rules," the judge asked.
The Madras High Court on May 29, 2018 directed the Centre to instruct the state governments and Union Territories to make sure that no school in the country, irrespective of the educational board it was affiliated to, prescribed homework for students in Classes I and II, in accordance with the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) recommendations.
While giving out the ruling, Justice N. Kirubakaran also stated that no school should force upon children any subject other than language and mathematics in Classes I and II.
The court also asked the Centre to instruct state governments to reduce the weight of children's school bags. The judge said, “neither children are weightlifters nor school bags load containers.”
The judge also directed the Centre to make sure that every State government and Union Territory constitutes flying squads to conduct inspections in schools to monitor compliance with the directions.