In preparation for the upcoming recruitment exams across Karnataka on November 18 and 19, the Karnataka Examination Authority (KEA) has introduced a new dress code aimed at curbing exam malpractices involving electronic devices. The guidelines have stirred discussions around the balance between tradition and the need for examination integrity.
According to the recent announcement, the KEA prohibits the use of any head cover during the exams, signaling a shift in policies. Additionally, electronic gadgets such as phones and Bluetooth earphones are strictly banned within the examination halls, a measure taken to prevent cheating using such devices.
Interestingly, amidst concerns about preserving tradition, the KEA has permitted the wearing of mangalsutras and toe rings. This decision comes after protests by right-wing organizations, highlighting the delicate balance authorities must strike when implementing dress codes.
While the dress code doesn’t explicitly mention the hijab, its implications have sparked discussions. Previously, women wearing hijab faced stringent checks before being allowed into the examination halls. This move follows a history of controversy surrounding the hijab, with a notable incident at Government PU College in Udupi in January 2022, where six girls were allegedly barred from entering.
It’s worth noting that the Karnataka government had initially allowed candidates to wear the hijab during KEA-conducted recruitment exams held on October 28 and 29. However, the current guidelines suggest a shift in this stance, raising questions about the reasons behind such changes.
The hijab issue has been a point of contention, leading to protests and agitations across the state. In response, some male students started attending classes wearing saffron scarves in solidarity, further emphasizing the socio-political dimensions of the debate.
Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, in his commitment to preserving the secular heritage of the state’s education sector, asserted that compromises would not be made, especially in the context of the New Education Policy (NEP). He vowed to eliminate the environment of fear and intolerance, emphasizing that hate politics would not be tolerated.
As Karnataka grapples with the intersection of tradition, religious identity, and the integrity of examination processes, the KEA’s dress code stands as a reflection of the ongoing challenges in finding a harmonious balance in the education system.