The Governing Body (GB) of the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) decided to bring back Board examinations for Class X making it compulsory for students to take the exam from 2018. In a meeting held on December 20, the highest decision-making body of the Board also decided to introduce an eligibility test for principals of all its schools and implement the three language formula until Class X across all its schools strictly. All three decisions will have to be approved by the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD).
Board examinations for Class X were made optional five years ago, with the students getting the option to be evaluated under the Comprehensive and Continuous Evaluation (CCE) system foregoing Boards altogether. Jyoti Arora, one of the Governing Body (GB) members of the Board and Principal of Mount Abu Public School, Rohini told YKA that she supported bringing the boards back because the past five years were “not a good experience” for schools.
“The CCE had overburdened teachers with recording and planning activities. Classroom size was a big obstacle which did not allow us to carry out CCE activities the way it was designed,” she told YKA. She added that bringing back the examination would enable students to prepare better for higher education.
CCE is a process of assessment mandated under the Right to Education (RTE) Act, which prescribes evaluating students’ performance at regular intervals throughout the year.
Many principals differ on this view. Ameeta Mullah Wattal, a former GB member and Principal of Springdales School, Pusa Road in Delhi thinks CCE was a “wonderful programme” and that it “allowed a lot of young people who were not very scholarly or academically oriented to realise their potential”. The reversal, she believes, happened because many schools were not able to cope with the system because they didn’t have adequately trained teachers.
Opinions also differ on the wisdom of extending the three-language formula till Class X. The National Policy on Education prescribes that students in Hindi-speaking states should learn a modern Indian language, apart from Hindi and English and those in non-Hindi-speaking states should learn Hindi apart from English and a regional language. But, as per replies given by the government in Parliament, this is not effectively implemented across states as education as a subject is on the concurrent list of the Constitution. Tamil Nadu, Tripura and the UT of Puducherry do not follow the formula.
The Board has now decided that schools affiliated to it should follow the formula strictly. It has also decided to extend the third language course up to Class X. The course was being taught from classes VI to VIII until now. The HRD Ministry had in 2014 asked Kendriya Vidyalayas (KVs) to discontinue teaching German as a third language because it violated the formula.
Arora told YKA that like her, most GB members were in favour of promoting Indian languages. She added that a way had to be found to accommodate foreign languages.
Wattal, on the other hand, believes the importance given by a government to teaching foreign languages was a reflection of a government’s understanding of the importance it placed on globalisation. “These are different days. We have to think very carefully because after all if you are looking at opening up if you are looking at people travelling across the world, if you are looking at Indians getting rehabilitated across the world, there is no harm in having the third language as an international language,” she told YKA.
She added that this could not be challenged by a person alone if it was a government directive and that there should be “discussion and dialogue” about it. “If the CBSE in its wisdom has thought that it wants to bring back what is there, then you can’t challenge the CBSE,” she told YKA.