It is S. Karthick's last few weeks in a leading matriculation school before the Class V student joins a CBSE school, from the coming academic year. While his parents are convinced that the Continuous and Comprehensive Evaluation (CCE), introduced by the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), will mould the child holistically, Karthick has a different reason to leave his friends for a new environment.
“Taking exams is a nightmare for children and he has seen his cousin write 15 papers continuously. In CBSE, he knows that there are only five subjects and examinations are well spaced,” says his mother Radha Subramanian.
The next academic year is significant in the State. The CBSE has said good bye to Class X Board examinations. The State Government is introducing Equitable Standard School Education under the Tamil Nadu Uniform System of School Education Act, which brings different school boards under one umbrella. Plus, international curriculum such as Cambridge International and International Baccalaureate are getting promoted by schools.
School managements say there are many anxious parents considering a shift in Board. Some parents of CBSE students feel removing examinations is not an ideal choice for their child, while Matriculation parents are sceptical about the uniform curriculum.
But, does it matter which Board one follows?
“The board does not matter. Rather parents must take their decision, based on some kind of rationale, most important is to check the potential of the child,” says G. Neelakantan, principal, Sir Sivaswami Kalalaya Senior Secondary School.
R. Kishore Kumar, Senior Principal, St. John's International Residential School, is, however, of the view that Board does matter and along with it the school too. “The evaluation pattern is the most crucial factor to be looked at.”
In Tamil Nadu, a majority of the transition from Class X (ICSE or CBSE) to higher secondary is due to easier access to higher education. But this trend is being witnessed at the primary or middle school level itself thanks to the pedagogy different Board are introducing. Also, until Class V every Board follows almost similar syllabus and transition is perhaps more appropriate at the primary to middle school stage, say teachers.
“In the State Board all I had to care was marks to secure an engineering seat, whereas CBSE you have to concentrate on regular exams plus the national level competitive exams,” says Rahul Natarajan (name changed), a Class XII student who switched to State Board after Class X.
At the seven institutions of St. John's Group of Schools, the earlier trends among students to shift from CBSE to State Board in Classes VI, IX and XI are changing. Teachers from DAV Group of Schools also say they are now increasingly seeing students continuing in a central board after Class X. Similarly, the Velammal Educational Trust is also seeing encouraging response for its CBSE schools.
With a national curriculum more accepted for parents in transferable on the move, many school managements are introducing a couple of Board and leaving the choice to parents. According to sources, many matriculation schools have also sought NOC from the government to switch to a new Board.