Private schools to prescribe BOSE textbooks: High Court
Private schools to prescribe BOSE textbooks The High Court has upheld the decision of the J&K Board of School Education (BOSE) directing all the private schools to prescribe the textbooks published by the Board for the students of class 6th to 8th standard.
The petitioner-J&K Private Schools United Front claiming to be a Trust working for the welfare of private educational schools and institutes had challenged the notification dated 26.08.2022 issued by respondent-Joint Secretary, Publication and Procurement BOSE, whereby all the private schools have been asked to ensure that in the first phase, the textbooks published by the J&K BOSE are implemented and prescribed by all the private schools across UT of J&K for classes 6thto 8thfrom the ensuing academic session.
Justice Sanjay Dhar held the plea of the petitioner-Trust as without merit and dismissed it accordingly. The court while applying Rule 11 of School Education Rules of 2010 said it is incumbent upon every school to follow curriculum and textbooks prescribed by the Jammu and Kashmir Board of School Education.
“By virtue of the resolution adopted by the Affiliation Committee of the Board, adherence to the Rule has been made compulsory by the Board. It is pursuant to this Statutory Rule that respondent Joint Secretary, Publication and Procurement BOSE has issued the impugned notification making it obligatory upon all the schools affiliated to the Board to use the textbooks prescribed and published by the Board”, read the judgment.
The court recorded that it cannot be stated that the impugned notification has been issued without the approval of the competent authority. “…non-compliance of the instructions or orders of the J&K BOSE or Government of Jammu and Kashmir issued from time to time/non-adoption of JKBOSE prescribed textbooks and curricula by any academic institution shall warrant a disciplinary action, imposition of a penalty up to Rs.50,000 or both and that it shall be reinforced for strict implementation”, Justice Dhar added.
He further recorded that once it is found that the Board of School Education is vested with statutory power to prescribe textbooks which include publication of these books, it would be well within its power to make it mandatory for the affiliated schools to use only those books that have been prescribed and published by the Board.
“Neither the private schools nor other publishers have any right to compel the Board to prescribe text books published by these private publishers. The prescription of textbooks published by the Board would not infringe the right of any publisher or owner of a private school as long as the respondent Board has the power to do so”, the Court clarified.
The policy decisions and guidelines, the court said, 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 otherwise the whole exercise made by various stakeholders including educationists etc. would become futile.
“If the schools were 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 respondent Board while issuing the impugned notification is right in observing that the practice of prescribing textbooks from different private publishers by different private schools results in non-uniformity in the curriculum being taught and even instances of controversial content finding way in some cannot be ruled out. 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,” the HC said.