Thiruvananthapuram/Kochi/Kozhikode: The New Year is here and it’s time for stocktaking of the year gone and charting out the course ahead as well. The academic sector is no exception and new challenges are in store for the students, teachers and administrators while the year gone by saw the CBSE winding up the innovative Problem Solving Assessment (PSA) Test for Class IX and XI, which was introduced in 2013 to groom the reasoning skills of students. Academics, who do not agree with this, say that the CBSE needs to revise the curriculum in tune with modern needs in the coming year.
Mr Jyothish Chandran, chairman, Jyothish Central School, Kazhakoottam, Thiruvananthapuram, said that the New Year would mark a shift in the curriculum. The consultations started by the Ministry of Human Resources Development (MHRD) was entering the last phase. “The new curriculum framework 2016 will be ready by February. The present curriculum framework was formed in 2005 during the tenure of Kapil Sibal as HRD Minister. Now, Smrithi Irani in her capacity as HRD minister has decided to go for changes,” Mr Chandran said.
One of the radical changes being mulled by the ministry is doing away with the no-detention policy till Standard VIII, which was brought under the Right To Education (RTE) Act. There are also plans to make changes in the Continuing and Comprehensive Evaluation (CCE) system up to Class X. “There are chances of scrapping the system or making some changes in it,” Mr Chandran said.
The present format of Formative Assessment (FA) and Summative Assessment (SA) under CCE may also undergo changes. That will bring the old Onam and Christmas and annual exams back in classes up to X.
Interestingly, the CBSE is still scouting for a full-time chairman even a year after Mr Vineet Joshi, the last permanent chairman, was shifted from the post. “The two persons who were appointed temporarily were shifted soon. We expect a full-time chairman by February when the new curriculum framework will be ready,” Mr Chandran said.
Ms Latha Alaxander, Principal TKM Centenary School, Kollam, said that she was personally against the no- detention policy as it was lowering the academic standards.
“However, I am for CCE which has promoted self-learning skills in students and their self-confidence,” Ms Alexander said.
The important aspect to be ensured is that of teacher-pupil ratio. “Ideally it should be between 1:25 and 1:30. Then only the teacher can have personal attention on all students. Schools skip this due to the economic aspect. Anyhow, the ratio should not exceed 1:35,” Ms Alexander said.
According to Ms Maya Mohan, Principal, Chinmaya Vidyalaya, Vaduthala, Ernakulam, and president Kochi Sahodaya, as the New Year dawns, educationists should think about handling children differently. “It is about how to motivate them differently to the right goal. It is also about teaching them about personal safety and handling social media responsibly. Teachers and other educationists have to motivate students in learning using methods other than the conventional ones,” said Ms Maya Mohan.
She also noted that the attention span of students has gone down these days. “They keep on switching channels and don’t do things for long. This reflects in attention span as well. So it has to be altered into long spans. Peer pressure too is high on today’s students. This too needs to be tackled,” she said.
Students need to be told that the values are not obsolete. “They should be told this not in the manner of preaching,” she said.
Schools have the flexibility of tweaking portions up to Class VIII. “They need not have to wait for syllabus revision as is being anticipated in the new academic year. They can also do many things for the students using technology. Learning by doing is an interesting proposition for students. Even though CBSE has scrapped the innovative Problem Solving Analysis test in 2015, schools can continue with it which will be helpful in honing higher order thinking skills and will be useful in their future,” she said.
Kerala CBSE School Management Association general secretary Indira Rajan said that creativity in the educational system should be promoted in the coming year by reducing theoretical burden progressively. “Practical knowledge is more important. Self-reliance among students to undertake entrepreneurship should be the goal and they should be employment generators rather employment seekers. Students should be able to say that ‘I can do it’. That should be the focus of education from the school level itself. Fortunately we are partially there,” Ms Indira Rajan said
The curriculum should be framed in such a way that practical knowledge can be shared. Ms Indira Rajan also said that character building needs to be another focus of education in the coming days in the wake involvement of children in the age of 15, 16 and 17 in crimes. “The curriculum should lay thrust on that too,” she said.
Malappuram Sahodaya School Complex president Abdul Nazar said the fraternity was looking forward to a year of technology in educational sector in 2016 with CBSE introducing online evaluation and assessment of answer scripts partially in 2015. “We are keenly looking forward to that. We are also looking towards introduction of content related to social media in the curriculum to enable them to use it constructively,” he said.
“The CBSE introduced many new educational reforms during 2015, which were acceptable and we are expecting more such reforms that could make our education system more meaningful and helpful to us. The CBSE makes us capable of fighting the challenges in this competitive world and we are putting in our efforts to excel. But I am against making the education system a total digital platform scrapping our textbooks, if there is any such move. My New Year resolution is to lead a technology-enabled life so that I can run ahead in the race of competition,” said Achuth Ram, 12th standard student of Veda Vyasa.