While the recent reforms in CBSE are good in principle, I fear that we may be diluting standards and ‘mollycoddling’ children. For example, until last year a student studied nine chapters for an assessment and found it ‘too much’. Today he only has to study three chapters and still finds that too much. At the end of the day, children have to go out and face the real world- so, are we inadvertently making them too lackadaisical?
– Deepa Sridhar, Principal (CBSE) Sri Kumaran Children’s Home Bangalore
On the CCE: From the Horse’s Mouth
G. Balasubramanian, ex-Director (Academics), CBSE Known for his innovation in curriculum development and interactive pedagogy, G. Balasubramanian has played a key role in introducing several innovations in the CBSE curriculum, including Frontline curriculum, Communicative Approach to Language Teaching, Information Technology, Biotechnology, Entrepreneurship, Fashion Studies, Disaster Management, Life Skill Education, and Alternatives to Homework, among others. He is also Coordinator, CBSE committee on International Curriculum.
Please tell us a little about the CBSE curriculum – its strong points and its weaknesses
The CBSE curriculum is based on the National Curricular Framework of the Government of India and is therefore in tune with the broad objectives laid down in the National Policy of Education. The strength of the CBSE curriculum lies in its allpervasive nature encompassing the entire spectrum of knowledge and skills contextual to the Indian mind. The curriculum is contemporary and is designed for learners across the length and breadth of the country, irrespective of language. The curriculum has the potential to promote cognitive, thinking, emotional and life skills. Many believe that this curriculum is tough and is meant for the intellectually elite. This is not true. It can meet the needs of urban as well as rural communities and ensure equity in the learning process. The general opinion that the curriculum is quite challenging is no doubt valid, but that is what it should be, as a challenging curriculum is the best nutrient to the brain.
The CBSE curriculum has undergone a lot of changes recently – could you tell us more about this?
The introduction of the CCE is one of the major initiatives that is being talked about on education portals. The concept of CCE was introduced at the primary level in 1998 and subsequently at the middle level in 2003. Its introduction at the secondary stage has been quite impactful as this has a direct relationship with the board examinations at the class 10 level. The decision of the Board to make the examinations optional and to introduce grades instead of marks has attracted the attention not only of educators, but also of the common man.
The CCE is an implementation of the National Policy of Education to shift the paradigm from ‘examinations’ to ‘empowerment’. It brings the classroom into focus, making it interactive and multidimensional, while Focussing on the learning and growth profile of the learners rather than their inadequacies. It encourages holistic learning and assessment through the entire time-space schedule of the academic calendar, diffusing the focus from the one-shot terminal examinations. It allows observation and statement of a whole range of skills, aptitudes and competencies, both cognitive and otherwise, both curricular as well as co-curricular so that when the learners leave the school portals they carry a certificate which is a testament to their holistic profile rather than being a simple statement of marks in a select few disciplines of learning. I think this is the positive and progressive step the country has been waiting for.