Monday, September 07, 2009

Government goes in for reform in education system: Class Xth boards off

The Congress Government, in its second 5 year term, wants to make a start with a bang. As a result, the Government had set an ambitious plan of kicking off many major initiatives in the first 100 days; part of which were some announcements by the education ministry. Human Resources Development Minister Kapil Sibal shocked a large number of politicians and state officials when he advocated for the abolition of the class Xth boards (and many other proposals). He faced criticism for the sudden announcement of such measures, but looks like he has done a lot more networking since that time.
When you look at today's world, with a huge amount of pressure and load on students, the Class Xth exams are a major contributor. Schools have been known to encourage students to leave or take a non-favorable option in XIth if a student does not do well in the Class Xth board exams. In addition, schools have an additional pre-boards that are used before the boards and which essentially mean that a student can go upto 3-4 months of heavy pressure. In order to reduce this peak pressure somewhat, the Government (which controls the CBSE board, but not state boards) has proposed that the Class Xth board be now optional for students, and they can instead opt in for a comprehensive year-round appraisal system. The year-round system will be valid from the current school year, while the boards becoming optional will happen from the next year (link to article):

Over eight lakh students appearing for their class X exams in March 2010 have to take Board exams for which the results will be declared through grading system. From 2011, the grading system will continue but the Board exams will become optional. "After the Board examination is abolished in 2011 (for class X), students will have choice to take the Board exam on demand for transfer (to another school) or entry into pre-university institutes," Sibal said.
Grading procedure, which was finalised by a high-level committee headed by CBSE chairman Veenith Joshi, will warrant students to secure more than 33 per cent marks to get a certificate. The nine-point scale will start from A1(with 91-100 marks, exceptional), A2(81-90, excellent), B1(71-80, very good), B2(61-70, good), C1(51-60, fair), C2(41-50, average), D(33-40, below average), E1(21-32, needs improvement) and E2(00-20, unsatisfactory).

The worry of course is that the system is now made in place, but schools are not properly instructed, or that schools decide to follow their own path and 'encourage' students to still give the boards. The enforcement of this policy needs to be carried through in letter and spirit in order for students to feel a sense of relief.

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posted by Ashish Agarwal @ 12:44 PM