In what seems to be an emerging trend, several Matriculation schools in the city are opting to additionally float schools following the CBSE syllabus.
One such school is Don Bosco Egmore, which has been following the Matriculation syllabus for over five decades. Fr. John Alexander, rector-correspondent, Don Bosco, Egmore, said that the Don Bosco School of Excellence, which follows the CBSE syllabus, was started this year so that parents, many with transferable jobs, had an option. “Though the Matriculation school has its own advantages, CBSE offers greater flexibility and autonomy, even with regard to offering different languages for students. It has become mandatory for state board students to learn Tamil.
Though we are teaching Tamil and Hindi with equal weightage at the school following CBSE syllabus, students will have a choice from class VI onwards. Also, students need to be prepared for the global world, and CBSE is more suited for that,” he said.
Some schools and parents said that they are still apprehensive about the Samacheer Kalvi syllabus, a uniform syllabus for State Board, Matriculation, Anglo Indian, and OSLC schools. However, Fr. Alexander said that Samacheer Kalvi has brought in a less cumbersome approach to education. “This has drawn mixed responses. It is too early to assess its effectiveness, and has to be studied,” he said. The first batch of students took the class X examination as per the Samacheer Kalvi in 2012.
Though steps such as introducing Continuous and Comprehensive Evaluation system in schools in the State similar to CBSE has helped, parents’ opinion is still mixed. One such parent is Bobby Manoj, who had admitted her son in a Matriculation school in kindergarten, and switched to CBSE, when the same school offered the option. “Both my husband and I studied in CBSE schools and since we were getting a mixed response about Samacheer Kalvi, and we did not know too much about it, we opted to switch to the CBSE syllabus,” she said.
Chitra Prasad, Correspondent, NSN group of schools said that they had started a CBSE school in 2012 and have up to class VI now. “One of the reasons was that several parents requested CBSE syllabus. Though the students at the CBSE school are primarily those who have switched from our Matriculation schools, all the application forms for our Matriculation schools were also sold out,” she said. Parents such as Lakshmi (name changed), whose daughter studies in class III at a Matriculation school said that she tried to get admission at a CBSE school, but opted for a Matriculation school because of the cumbersome admission process. “In the primary classes, it is easy on the children, which is not a bad thing, but as she goes to higher classes I would want her to learn more. I will not shift schools because I cannot go through the admission process again,” she said.
However, some school authorities did not register such trends. For instance, Padmini Sriraman, Principal, Hindu Senior Secondary School, said that there has neither been an increase or decrease in the number of students shifting boards, a principal of another CBSE school in Egmore said that they had admitted close to 50 students in class IV from other boards this year.
A senior authority of a group of institutions which is planning to start a CBSE school soon said that they felt that coming under the CBSE would give them more academic autonomy. “We did an internal survey in our matriculation school and found that 90 per cent students preferred CBSE,” he said.
Prince Gajendra Babu, general secretary, State Platform for Common School System, however, argued that it is wrong to say that Samacheer Kalvi is diluted.
“The textbook is only a tool for learning, and not an end in itself. Volume and content alone are not indicators of what the child is learning,” he said.