Monday, March 16, 2015

Phases of transition in school education



The central board of secondary education, New Delhi introduced CCE pattern of evaluation in the mid of year 2009 considering it to be very helpful in the betterment of the quality of education in schools. There had been many discussions earlier also regarding the same and the then HRD minister thought of implementing the same and watch for the results of its implementation. There were views expressed against it as many people thought that it may not be very useful in the present scenario as many schools are not ready for such a system. The major discussion took place on making class X board examination optional. The argument stated was that if the schools can conduct class IX examination internally then why not class X. Another argument in favour of CCE was that this will reduce the stress on the children and the parents. The feedback in the last few years has been mixed but majority of the people seems to be against the CCE pattern and they want change in the same. They seem to be more concerned about class X and want the same to be conducted by the board and not to be left to the schools. Surprisingly no other board (we have more than 36 education boards in the country) adopted this system of CCE and optional class X examination. I personally favour the CCE pattern but the same was implemented half heartedly and without proper home work. Also our teachers` training institutions were not preparing the teachers and students in that manner. So, first the responsible people should have done proper research and that should have been objective, based on facts and not emotions of individuals. There should have been no scope for individual likes or dislikes but authentic data could be made available based on proper studies by a responsible and qualified agency. The views expressed by them should have been put in public domain and feedback should have been sought, following a conscious decision. But that is the past now and the same mistake should not be committed again.
Interestingly this did not happen in school education only but in higher education also. One of the premier universities changed its course duration from three years to four years whereas rest continued having it for three years (undergraduate course). This was the same situation as only CBSE implemented CCE and no other board did the same. From the year 2014 the aforementioned university has reversed the decision and the degree course is of three years once again. I do not know how many people are concerned and disturbed due to the problems which the students would have gone through due to the experimentation done on the wish of some people in power.
I raised these points to make a request to those who are concerned about the education system of the country. I always felt that the old system shouldn’t have been discarded completely. There are many good things in it and that was the reason our students and people were able to do much better than their counterparts from the countries where this pattern which was implemented in 2009 come from.
If the quality of education is to be sincerely improved then there should be proper and solid method of inspection of the schools and they should be helped in identifying the areas of their strengths and weaknesses. The CBSE in isolation has been trying to identify the agency to carry the same task in the schools but the selection of such agency leaves a lot of scope for improvement.  Before getting into something very ambitious, we should pay attention to small things as well. The prime minister of the country is an apt example of the same. He advocates doing things which may seem to be small but very important. I would like to cite some examples. The government should short list attainable things and then seriously draw short term as well as long term plans. First of all, it is important that mapping of all schools is done. This should include government schools, private schools, minority schools, madarsas and all other schools imparting primary and secondary education. The number of students enrolled in these schools and the number of children left unregistered. This work should be done under the proper guidelines of the government and may be carried out by any agency qualified for this task. Then they should try to get data of the qualified school teaches and also the ones who are working as teachers but are not qualified. For example; some state government appointed shiksha sahayks who may be class XII pass only. This was done specially in rural areas. First of all the government must fill all the vacant posts with qualified teachers and ensure regular training to such teachers. The parents’ awareness programme should also be initiated at all levels. The government schools should be improved to the level that all of them become model schools. Some private schools have played important role in imparting quality education and they should be encouraged by the government and those private institutions not doing the same should be forced to improve and if they do not do that then should be asked to close down. This is the right of all the children to get quality education hence nobody can play with the future of the country on any pretext. This can be done when we have uniform policy and no scope is left for the individuals to exploit it in their benefit but for the improvement of the quality only. For this the educationists of repute from within the country and externals should be engaged and proper inspection policy of the schools should be decided. Before that the objectives and goals of education of the country should also be made clear to all.
For the present, accurate study should be done regarding CCE and optional board examination for class X and then a decision be taken. As per CBSE, the pass percentage of class X children has improved considerably but what about the quality of learning. Do we want the pass certificate in the hand of the students or quality learning for the future of the country?  All will agree without question that the quality is more important than anything else. And the quality cannot be ensured without quality teachers and for that we need to pay equal attention towards our higher education as well. I strongly feel that the school education and higher education must be synthesised in a manner that the transition from one to the other does not come as a jerk or shock to the children. So training of teachers and recruiting more teachers should also be taken that seriously as the availability of safe drinking water in the schools. Mid day meals are important but education is no less important, so proper attention should be paid to that also. I could not talk much about the inspection of the schools in this article and will write few things regarding that in the next one. I request all those concerned about school education to share their views so that we can discuss the same at length and suggest to the government some ways of improving the quality of education in India.

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