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Updated: September 11, 2013 03:49 IST

CBSE on a mission to banish rote education

Kaavya Pradeep Kumar
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A file photo of Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) Chairman Vineet Joshi. Photo: V. Ganesan
The Hindu A file photo of Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) Chairman Vineet Joshi. Photo: V. Ganesan

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.

The greatly noncompetitive lerningbyrote is detrimental to "understanding" things, and it benefits only students who are of mediocre or belowstandard intelligence because the really intelligent ones feel the need to understand (which is also boosting creativity). Stuffing one's brain with book knowledge and spit it out at tests robotlike, is the worst feature of our educational system. Alas, where to find apt teachers?

from:  Marla
Posted on: Sep 12, 2013 at 04:42 IST

CBSE has been in the forefront of steering the educational scenario in Indian schools. The CCE system is wonderful, and CBSEi is a fine option for those studying outside the country too. Glad to learn that the students are benefitting out of the present system. The amount of pressure that has been lifted off the students' shoulders is perceptible only if parents could ease down!That said, CBSE should reconsider having the SA format for classes below 6. This format is adding tremendous pressure to the young children who are still in their single digit ages of under10. The CCE for these years are emphasised largely on multisensory learning, but the SA tilts the weight disproportionately to the written mode of assessment. This causes regression in the system's idea per se. I am sure that CBSE will take this into cognisance and rectify it at the earliest.

from:  Yamuna
Posted on: Sep 11, 2013 at 13:37 IST

rote learning is not something to be done away with. Rote learning too has its value. young age rote learning has some positive effects on old age diseases like Alzheimer. What we need is a way to test to find out the candidate's score on understanding vs rote learning. Ability to recall facts can be given 1020 weight.

from:  ramakrishna
Posted on: Sep 11, 2013 at 12:11 IST

laudable move

from:  MarutanRay
Posted on: Sep 11, 2013 at 08:40 IST

good trial.Let us wait&see the result

from:  mohamed shariff
Posted on: Sep 11, 2013 at 08:29 IST

Kudos to CBSE board! our nation has lost many opportunities because of this infamous rot learning. I know it's a long way to go before it starts showing some good results on ground but our nation has been crying out loud for many years to implement it.I wish other boards also take cognizance of this and start rolling some heads.

from:  Sourabh Gupta
Posted on: Sep 11, 2013 at 07:27 IST

CCE is a good experiment but not a panacea . I remember as a child in Andhra the Board exams were removed to encourage literacy. The quality is first sufferer. In VIII Standard introduced board exams to filter, then in X and XII. Now, again it lead to rote learning and mug up. To have a fair view CCE is introduced. But, it has become a tool to schools to push up pass percentage. Unless, the education in a school helps in his life, equip with him some soft skills and profession work training he becomes neither here nor there. The student is unfit to pursue higher education and over qualified to become a mason, carpenter or plumber. The present system is lost to both Worlds. The less said about higher and university education it is better. Mr.Ganguly and his predecessor worked hard to put CBSE in right track. I think a lot to do..... miles to go.

from:  D Chavali
Posted on: Sep 11, 2013 at 06:42 IST

First of all, can we reduce the burden of students carrying heavy weight bundle of books to and fro schools and home? Let us make provisions for keeping the books in the schools itself. Reduce homework for students instead let the teachers do necessary homework for educating the students. Let our loving children study in the schools and play with parents and friends at home. We can make success let the schools come forward for a better bright future.

from:  Gnanam
Posted on: Sep 11, 2013 at 04:42 IST

The CBSE being the steering education board in India, it has definitely taken steps to ensure that the school education is improvised with time. However, this year, CBSEi has insisted on halfyearly Summative Assessment (SA) for Class 3 and above. This means that the multisendory learning approach emphasised under the new learning paradigm is underminer severely by the mismatched weightage given to the written exam. Parents revert back to the old school of making the childen sit and study.The experience of teachers and parents is that this is stressful on the young children who are still in their running and playing stage of development. The blue print is also superheavy and this means a lot of learning to do rote would be the best for 710 year olds to be able to 'sit' for these exams. The overwhelming feeling is that there should only be multisensory learning (FAs) until Class 4 or perhaps 5.

from:  Yamuna
Posted on: Sep 10, 2013 at 23:20 IST
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