Recent Changes in Education

With a spate of new reforms taking place in the education sector of our country, I have been compelled to take up the pen and put to paper all the recent changes and developments that are affecting us all. Recently with CCE- Continuous & Comprehensive Evaluation being implemented in Class IX and above classes, the students will be evaluated for their scholastic as well as co-scholastic performance from next month, resulting in grades instead of marks. This means that schools following CBSE pattern, will henceforth conduct formative and summative assessment of Class IX students in their second term. With two formative and one summative assessment in each term, the weightage of these two assessments in a year will be 40% and 60%, respectively. These formative assessments will be gauged through quizzes, conversations, interviews, oral testing, visual testing, projects, practicals and assignments.

Many schools like DPS Pinjore have since its inception laid stress on co-curricular activities and formative assessments of their students but the other schools which have till date only restricted a child’s assessment to only the paper-pencil test, will face difficulty in adapting themselves to the new pattern laid down by the Board.  Aiming at “holistic assessment of a learner”, the circular issued by the Board stresses that CCE “will motivate learning in a friendly environment rather than in a fearful situation.” With a greater focus on learning rather than teaching to test, DPS Pinjore and a handful of other schools like Shemford Group Of Schools score a point over the others, as they are already following a similar education pattern.

The CBSE Board has also woken up to the need to train its teachers and impart the required teaching practices to its teachers but in private schools like DPS Pinjore, it is mandatory for teachers to complete a set of training modules before joining the school. The basic aim behind this is to ensure that the teachers inculcate the same set of values in their own selves before stepping into the student’s realm and guiding them.

When talking about the latest reforms, why leave behind ICT usage? Use of videogames to make learning more interesting, computer aided teaching and active graphics are rigorously being used these days to grab and sustain the child’s attention. With modern technology getting more advanced day by day, there is an even greater need to introduce the child early on, to this new dimension of education and try and build his interest in the same.

Especially the way in which mathematics is presented to school children, many of them find it a difficult and dry subject. Many national bodies like NCERT and teacher associations like AMTI are making efforts to make mathematics teaching more alluring by organising trainings, workshops, seminars, bringing out journals, producing resource material, conducting Mathematical Olympiads, etc. But all said and done, in the end, the onus of improving the quality of teaching mathematics lies on the individual teacher.

I personally believe that all children are a Goldmine- a goldmine of hidden talents! And the onus of discovering their talents rests not only on the parents but also on the schools. These talents have to be discovered at an early age, when the little buds are still blossoming into flowers. Keeping this in view, the Government has proposed to introduce new courses in the current curriculum being followed at schools all over the country.

With the HRD Ministry all set to introduce new courses in areas like Fine Arts, Music, Carpentry and other skills at the school level, schools are all geared up to cater to the new tidal wave of interests shown in their curriculum by the governing bodies. It is a well known fact that for any industry or sector to flourish, it is very important to have Government support and the reform policies to be actively implemented. With the new Education Minister, Mr Kapil Sibal, taking an active interest in the Educational Reforms of the country, India’s Education Sector is set for major reforms that were long pending. The government’s intervention in major issues has sparked a series of intellectual debates among all classes of the society and finally, it seems that unheard pleas are being heard!

After having made Board Exams optional in Grade X, the schools are further rejoicing in the knowledge that CBSE will now be internationally recognized and will cater to a much wider audience in terms of outreach. Just like the International Baccalaureate (IB) and the Cambridge International Examinations, the ‘International CBSE’ would reach out to students across the world as an alternate system of learning and evaluation – Definitely news worth rejoicing!

With US Secretary Of Education, Arne Duncan’s ample praise for India’s secondary education system, the idea of taking our CBSE Board which is already recognized globally, to an international level, has streamed forth. But first, the current CBSE curriculum would have to be revamped totally in order to customize and tailor it to the requirements of the global student community and this would definitely take some time and ample research.

In the meanwhile, the results of the recent reforms implemented, are visible from this term itself, with schools all over Delhi agreeing to open the registrations from Dec 15. With de-bureaucratisation in the Admissions Procedure of schools, the parents of children seeking admissions have a little less to worry about this term. With the annual admission time being one of the most harrowing times of all, parents have literally breathed a sigh of relief on the Government’s timely intervention and lauded the efforts of Sibal.

Starting with the Grading system to Introduction of new diverse courses in schools, from the Right to Education Bill being passed to the Teacher Training Program being implemented at a nation wide scale, Mr Sibal has been doing a commendable work since day one of his term and I wish him all the best for his future endeavors.

Right of Children for Free and Compulsory Education Act

Right of Children for Free and Compulsory Education Act

From 1 April 2010, a new law has come into force – The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act. Under this Act, every child within the age group of 6-14 years will be provided 8 years of elementary education in an age appropriate classroom in the vicinity of his/her neighbourhood. No child shall be denied admission for want of documents; no child shall be turned away if the admission cycle in the school is over and no child shall be asked to take an admission test. Children with disabilities will also be educated in the mainstream schools.

Generally, April 1 is associated with Fool’s Day every year but this year, it was a Historic Day for the people of India, as from this day, the Right To Education will be accorded the same legal status as the Right To Life as provided by Article 21A of the Indian Constitution. The new Act states that free and compulsory “Elementary Education” from first class to eight class, to the children of the age of 6 to 14 years belonging to disadvantaged group or weaker section, is not merely the responsibility of schools run or supported by appropriate Governments or local authority, but also of schools which are not dependent on Government funds. Private schools shall admit at least 25% of the children in their schools without any fee.

But, all said and done, there are still many things wanting in the Act. Though the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009 has come into force w.e.f. 1 April 2010, but it is silent as to from which academic year it will be implemented. Also, the term “disadvantaged group or weaker sections” isn’t too informative.  Still, a laudable effort on the part of the Government – a step towards a more educated and enlightened India!!