The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) with Chairman Vineet Joshi at the helm is on a mission to veer the school education system away from a tendency to reward rote-learning.
Case in point is their implementation of the Continuous and Comprehensive Evaluation (CCE) system in 2009 despite fears expressed by school managements and parents alike that it would lead to laxity and deterioration of students’ performances. Along with aggressively promoting teacher training initiatives, the board will also focus on career counselling initiatives in the coming months, Mr. Joshi told The Hindu here on Tuesday.
In the city to attend the handing-over ceremony of the donations collected by the CBSE schools in the State for the Uttarakhand Chief Minister’s Relief Fund and to address teachers during a conclave organised by the Kerala CBSE School Management Association on Wednesday, Mr. Joshi said that the need to foster a demand for alternative courses will be underlined when he meets educators here.
There are a number of novel electives the board now offers such as legal studies, human rights and gender, theatre in education, mass media and production and retail, but the number of takers in Kerala has been nil, he said.
“Naturally schools would not offer unless parents express interest. Here, most parents are exposed to options such as engineering and medicine at the high school level and hence are a little apprehensive about exploring others even though their child might have a clear aptitude for it. We need to provide all the right information to parents through career counselling centres in schools. The pilot project of a students support centre we plan to establish in Uttar Pradesh may also be replicated in other States based on how well it fares,” Mr. Joshi said.
He also spoke about the Students Global Aptitude Test (SGAI) which, for the first time, is being held in November this year for students of Class X in a bid to give more time for them to decide on the stream they should choose in Class XI.
“There are no straightforward questions on the subject matter but the test is based on psychometric principles that would help them make an informed decision. So far, only around 3 lakh out of 12 lakh students have taken the test and so we have a long way to go in terms of reaching out to more students,” he said.
For such measures that require spreading awareness among students and parents, teacher training must be improved, Mr. Joshi stressed. In fact, this objective could have a positive ripple effect on other activities of the board such as their new international curriculum, CBSE-i.
Among 500 schools that have applied in the country, 70 schools were approved by the selection committee, said Mr. Joshi, who added that they were being restrictive. Management and teachers were judged carefully as they do not want the syllabus to be used as an excuse for simply raising the fees.
“We are positioning it as an alternative for the international baccalaureate or the Cambridge IGCSE. It is the teaching methodology that differentiates it. It is activity-based, stresses on IT skills and even includes provisions to weave into the syllabus current developments that would be a great connector for students,” Mr. Joshi said.
He also pointed out how the first batch of students that passed out of Class XII after undergoing the CCE system had actually fared markedly better than the previous batches.
“It is still too early to comment, but it seems as though the reduced mental load in Class X actually helped them excel. Again, we have a long way to go in terms of improving the teaching practices in this field as well,” he said.