The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) on Tuesday launched its self-designed international curriculum that aims to compete with its western counterparts to produce the global citizen of tomorrow.

Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal presided over the worldwide launch of the CBSE-international (CBSE-i) curriculum at Dubai's Indian High School (IHS). The IHS will also become a global centre for training teachers in the new curriculum under the guidelines of the CBSE.

The Minister said that CBSE's initiative was futuristic, and was a reflection of India's ambitious drive to establish a vast pool of skilled manpower that could become a significant driver of the global economy.

“It is important to realise that the global community is going to need quality human resources. That will be provided only by countries where human resources are available,” Mr. Sibal said in a conversation with The Hindu. Because of its ample pool of young people, India has the advantage of having a “demographic dividend” in comparison to A “demographic deficit” that was being felt in the rest of the world, he said.

Elaborating on the new initiative, CBSE Chairman Vineet Joshi said learning skills apart, the CBSE-i would also impart to its students social skills, and at the same time highlight the importance of a positive attitude. “Having the right attitude, willingness to learn and an ability to work in teams will be given prime importance, as demanded by the globalised world.”

Visual and performing arts

The new curriculum, which is being introduced in nine countries and 39 schools, would also give substantial importance to visual and performing arts. Social science, math, and the sciences would be taught in a “globally sensitive manner,” Mr. Joshi said.

Mr. Sibal later explained at a press conference that the CBSE-i has been geared to compete well with Switzerland’s International Baccalaureate (IB) system and the International General Certificate of secondary Education (IGCSE) offered by Britain’s Cambridge University.

He pointed out that his ministry had brainstormed some possible solutions to meet the heavy expenditure that would have to be incurred to fulfill his plan of establishing 700 new universities and 35,000 colleges by 2020. “We decided to investigate the possibility of setting up an Education Finance Corporation (EFC), which at present is at a conceptual stage. We had a discussion with the planning commission and they are in agreement with the idea.”

The visiting minister said the EFC would serve two purposes. First, it would make it easier for investors to avail low interest credit, provided education in the near future is officially designated as a “priority sector”. Second, students seeking expensive professional degrees in fields such as medicine, engineering or management, would be entitled to government-guaranteed concessional loans. By implementing some of its new plans, the ministry hopes to raise the intake of high school graduates into the higher education stream by 30 per cent from the present 12.4 per cent.

For many of those who are left behind, a revamped vocational educational system, where foreign investors are likely to play a prominent part is in the pipeline. Mr. Sibal later participated in a ground-breaking ceremony of Manipal University’s new campus at Dubai’s International Academic City.