Change is an inevitability. Continually recognizing it and adapting to it is a key to success. Across the world visionaries experiment with novel methods to deal with change and are closely observed for applications in other areas. Changes to our economies, livelihood and social existence also has implications for education of our children. Childhood education is the bedrock for higher education and social existence.
Visionary schools are revisiting the paradigm of children’s education. However, these efforts are sporadic not systemic. CBSE has displayed its intention to take that leap forward with its recent affiliation bye-laws document.
CBSE is an important agent in shaping the future of India with 26L students writing their board exams in 2018. In the past CBSE has been accused being medical and engineering entrance exams focussed. Unacceptable levels of competition at the top medical/engineering colleges has facilitated the acceptance of other career options. Instead of “marks based priorities” successful lives and good citizens is an educational priority.
The CBSE affiliation bye laws document is a serious reevaluation, perhaps a commitment to reevaluate and change the system. The policy leaders have taken the trouble to revisit the entire document. More detailed discussions can be taken up later for now, this is just a note on some observations.
Communication 101: CBSE created a streamlined document that addresses each category in its entirety. An easier to read and understand document.
Financial Accountability: It seems in the interests of transparency and accountability all transactions must be made through digital mode. How CBSE intends to ensure that it is followed and the penalty for violating it, remains to be seen.
Permanent Affiliation: In doing away with permanent affiliation CBSE and removing graded categories for affiliation is a move towards greater compliance from participating schools.
School management committee: Two noteworthy changes to the school management committee. A minimum of 50% of the school management committee as women is a good move. Two “Board” nominated members for each school management committee will be a bandwidth nightmare for the board.
Clarity on land size and student capacity: Land requirements have been put succinctly with the number of students. Perhaps instead of optimum number of sections a minimum number of sections would have added more clarity.
Commitment: CBSE has shown its commitment to shaping the discourse on school education in India. By doing away with dual affiliations to its schools it has demanded a similar commitment from its partner schools.
Innovation: In mentioning “innovative schools” in the affiliation document, CBSE has created room for the experimenters and the change agents. This flexibility shall create strong institutions in the future. However, a definition of innovative schools will provide clarity in the specific areas that they are trying to promote. Educational consultants around the country have been busy introducing new practices to their clients, this clarity will certainly encourage this transition to new methodologies.
In closing, CBSE has put in the effort to address changes necessitated by the times, it is laudable. There is a lot more to be done. Continued effort and clarity can make this the beginning of a new era for school education in India.