Calendar year 2010 is proving to be a revolutionary year for the Education industry. The sector has witnessed a slew of initiatives under the leadership of HRD minister Kapil Sibal to say the least.
The ministry has clearly conveyed its high ambitions for the industry to be taken at global levels to make it competitive and performance-oriented. The new initiatives towards reforming education, by the relevant authorities, have not remained limited only to a specific class of students but broad based in nature.
At first, the HRD ministry has allowed the entry of the Foreign Universities to set-up campuses on Indian shores to boost higher education for top B-school students. While on the other hand, a revolutionary change in taking the educational system of CBSE in conformation to the international standard aptly serves the interest of primary education.
1) Education Bill Regulating Entry of Foreign Universities.
2) Introduction of International syllabus in CBSE.
3) No Unit tests for Classes I to VIII in Maharashtra.
4) Every School will have an IT Teacher
Education Bill Regulating Entry of Foreign Universities
To start with, it was about clearing the Foreign Education (Regulation of Entry and Operation) Bill which aims to allow entry of foreign universities to set up their campuses on Indian shores. However, the bill needs to be ratified by the Parliament to be turned into a law.
This step by the government would seek to expand options for the students seeking higher education in India’s top B-school destinations which until now remained limited to India’s premier institutes like IIT and IIM. This reform measure can go a long way in boosting the structure of higher education in India apart from making it competitive and more cost-effective.
Introduction of International Syllabus in CBSE
The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) schools in India as well as CBSE-affiliated schools abroad will be free to introduce the new syllabus conforming to broad standards of International Baccalaureate (IB), as per the announcement made by HRD ministry.
However, there may not be any fundamental change in the practically viable content-oriented subjects like mathematics and science. The emphasis on other subjects could be subjective in nature depending on the history and culture of the country from where education is obtained.
This positive step will ensure that the educational system attains standardization as per international norms and competitively placed as against other foreign schools and institutions. The introduction of international syllabus will ensure a mixed and hybrid method of imparting skills and training through globalization of local courses.
The students could now be privileged to courses conforming to international standards of education further enabling them an easier access to foreign universities going forward. The new system would have to inculcate changes in terms of various grading standards and evaluations processes for the students in line with the norms and directives of IB.
No Unit tests for Classes I to VIII in Maharashtra.
The Maharashtra State government has decided to allow schools to do away with the unit tests for classes I to VIII. This step is expected to give encouragement to enhance creative skills and performance-oriented learning programs for the students in the primary schools and thus freeing them from the stress of back to back exams.
Under current system, four unit tests are held in an academic year. The students would feel less stressful as the hassles of preparing and appearing for frequent tests will no longer exist. This will allow students to spend more time in other leisure activities including outdoor games and other activities.
The government has notified the schools to come up with new assessment system to bring out more creative and discover-oriented activities from the students.
Some of such measures could be implementation of group discussions, craft works, start-up management projects, among various other activities which are more practical in nature rather than imparting limited theoretical knowledge.
With this, the UPA government seems strongly resolved to uplift the quality of education in a highly unorganized Indian education industry, slowly but steadily. The Educational reform could go a long way in ensuring quality and competitively priced education for the ever-expanding population of India.
Further, in conformation of the standard of Indian education with the international quality, would act as a positive approach in lieu of its broad-based content and highly prospective in nature to impart skilled training and knowledge.
Concerns with Fast-paced Reforms
However, it needs to be determined whether the Indian education industry can move forward swiftly with the fast paced changes while adopting educational reforms.
It needs to be determined whether the Indian faculty in these educational institutions remains competitive enough to the likely fear of being rendered obsolete as compared to the high global standards of teaching and training set by foreign institutions.
While clearing the bills to education reforms, the government also needs to ensure that the domestic faculty remains competitive and updated to the courses and content imparted in foreign institutions and universities.
At the same time, the government needs to allocate a higher spending agenda towards major universities in order to ensure competitiveness and their ability to keep pace with top foreign universities. The HRD ministry also needs to ensure swift implementation of various education agendas to avoid confusion and hassles going forward.
Mr. Sibal… What more to come?
Do you think India can walk the Talk on its Education Bill?
What about a cbse class 7 student who is suffering from hepatitis b. School says his result is not good & he should repeat the 7th class or if he want to get passed, he have to leave the school with pass result of class 7 & take admission in another school. Admissions are closed in all schools what should he do ?.. what about right to education policy ?
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is it possible mbbs by distance learning programme.
now this is a bit urgent. i m supposed to prepare for a debate and the topic is “education Revolution” against the motion. there is consi derable amount of information but gives only vague ideas and i have nothing that i can put my finger on……………………………….please help!
Very true Madhav…
The aspect that you’ve enlightened about the qualification of the teaching faculty in the inner parts of India could be a cause of concern. This is a big disadvantage. It is a similar problem, like a ‘compounder’ with no enough qualification acting as a ‘Doctor’, in absence of the qualified doctor.
Though, the compounder of the clinic could be right in his prescrpition of drugs and medicines from his usual experiences, the real expertise lies with the physician/doctor himself.
Thanks for one more comment Madhav.
Viral, good post and good points.
With respect to the CBSE and IB thing, CBSE affiliated schools abroad can have international standard syllabus but the children at domestic CBSE schools will not benefit from it just yet. I think we need to move to the IB teaching style sooner than later. Also, by broading adopting it, parents who are spending a pretty penny to send their children to international schools in India and move their wards to Indian schools with IB syllabus instead and probably pay less.
As I commented on another post few days ago (which may be lost due to the HDD crash issue) education reforms are coming in spurts and without enough lead time. This will impact the students, parents, faculty, school managements, evaluators, employers, education companies and their share holders, (have I left out any body? :-)). I can understand the action-orientedness of this rather than be all talk, but why not have a clear set of goals laid out for the next 1 or 2 years, announce it and then start executing in order rather having an announcement every 2 weeks?
I am very happy with the reforms seen from a long term impact perspective and its probably Sibal’s style that is catching us off gaurd every fortnight that I think is a bit unsettling. I wouldn’t be surprised if some day somebody would draw comparision between Sibal and Muhammad-bin Tughlaq (http://www.indiasite.com/delhi/history/muhammadbin.html) – all the right intent, but execution may leave a lot to be desired…. only time will tell and may be I will have to eat my words, and I happily will if the country at large benefits.
Very true Madhav…
There are concerns about the pace of reforms, but more than pace of reforms its about ability of successful implementation of reforms. There are various hurdles like competibility of faculty to adopt the changed syllabus as per IB standards.
It is also about higher spending towards education which needs a due care from the government side. Many aspects, as i have discussed in last few paragraphs of the article.
At least, we can say the first step is taken. It remains to be seen as to when the second and subsequent steps are taken and at what pace.
Madhav, thanks for tracking the Education articles so closely. You have, indeed, highlighted an all-important hurdle in this fast-paced reform bill.
With respect to teachers in CBSE schools outside India, I have seen that some of the teachers are not qualified (B. Ed) or experienced. In some schools I have seen that most of the teachers are women. Some housewives take up teaching to kill time and they leave the city/ country when their husbands project finishes are gets transferred. So it will not only be a challenge to have qualified teachers, but also retain them, and train them on the new or emerging skills required.
Please note that what I mention above is not because I have a gender bias, but real problem faced as a parent because children some times have to get used to 2 or 3 students in the year. I think one of the solutions lies in better status for teachers in the society (as teaching like arts is seen as not glamorous or intelligent work like Engineering or Medical), better pay, visa for professional teachers etc.
I wonder if you agree with the above points and would Sibal address some of that during his tenure.