‘Merits of grading system far outweigh demerits’
What are the various functions of the CBSE office?
At CBSE we build agencies to conduct teacher’s training so as to educate teachers about better ways of teaching thereby enhancing quality of teaching. We also formulate new policies to empower state and centre-level schools. Policies include organisation of teacher’s training, certification of class X and XII, devise measures for quality of teaching at schools and also develop national-level curriculum. In addition, we provide affiliation schools, decide upon curriculum and develop direct contact with parents. Basically, we manage more than 15000 schools which include all private schools, state-level schools, Navodya Vidyalayas, CTSA (Central Tibetan schools administration) and the KVS (Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan).
CBSE is adopting new methods as it continues to play a crucial role in the education system. What are the challenges faced by it?
CBSE continuously experiments to improve our education system. For instance the Continuous and Comprehensive Evaluation (CCE) programme was introduced in 2009 and has produced outstanding results. There are a few key areas that need to be fine tuned and can be done in a systematic manner. To establish CCE’s success, we require 100% commitment and dedication from schools, teacher, parents and stakeholders. Teachers understand CCE but parents have to support teachers for its overall results.
Should state-run schools run in parallel with CBSE affiliated schools?
Actually, schools cannot exist independent of the state, as they are located in the concerned state and schools need to follow law of the land (state government). Education is on the concurrent list so both the state and Centre need to work together in the interest of students. So anything done in the interest of the students is most welcome. The regional officer has communicated a detailed academic schedule to schools. The academic year starts in April so we also need to give schools some time, as it cannot be done too much in advance. Such advance scheduling is equivalent to a commercial activity. At the end of the day it should help students get admission.
In some CBSE schools, you have more than 10 sections for each standard. What is your view on the matter?
Schools that started long time ago had several sections. However, the board had now made it clear that no school should have more than four sections with 40 students each.
Please elaborate on OTBA?
As per new CBSE guidelines, the Board has introduced a new format of learning called ‘Open Text-Based Assessment’ (OTBA) for improving a student’s latent innovative skills from the very beginning, and to make the learning comprehensive and conceptual. This newly introduced component in the syllabi aims to make the curriculum free from ‘learning by rote’.
Are you influenced by the western style of education?
Well we do appreciate their style of education. However, we will adopt their methods and process only when it suits our system of teaching and meets our requirements. Today, western schools want to adopt our methods of teaching and training levels for their schools.
Has the grading system become better than the marking system that existed prior to 2009?
We find that merits of grading system far outweigh the demerits, if any. There is a challenge of replacing marks with grades in a system, which has been primarily marks-oriented. The perceptions will change once stakeholders understand their merits.
In August, you joined hands with Pearson Foundation, a private foreign education company. How do you think it would help CBSE?
We have signed a MoU (Memorandum of Understanding) to form a centre for assessment, evaluation, analysis and research. This will test CBSE’s examination process and overall system of testing student’s calibre, undertake research on schemes implemented and those in the process of implementation and also develop research-based resources to help teachers.
Your message to the students across India?
My message to the students across India is that they should first be happy and remain healthy as “health is wealth” and only a healthy mind can concentrate well on studies. They must keep in mind that there is no substitute for hard work and success. Students must always pursue a career they dream of and then work towards it passionately. Also, they must remember that life has both ups and downs, so they must remain motivated and focused in whatever career they opt for in life.