School Boards Compete for Better Academics

Several city schools are switching from Secondary School Certificate (SSC) to Indian Certificate of Secondary Education (ICSE), citing “excessive meddling” by the state’s education department as the reason.

Meanwhile, Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) is offering new subjects and courses for its students and also promising ‘no bag and no homework’ to primary students. ICSE, too, has been making similar announcements over the last few years.

TNN spoke to academicians and educationists to compare the three boards on various parameters.

Curriculum:
Most academicians believe the SSC board syllabus is ‘textbook oriented,’ while ICSE has a “wider outlook for all-round development of students,” Nandita Jhaveri, Vice-Principal of New Era High School says the ICSE curriculum has more practical application than both, CBSE and SSC. Educationist Kavita Anand adds schools affiliated to ICSE have the liberty to choose from the large variety of books and authors available in the market for their students, whereas CBSE and SSC schools have to stick to books issued by the board.

Quality / Relevance of text books:
SSC text books have remained unchanged over several years, whereas ICSE books are more relevant to contemporary times, say school principals. CBSE updates text books every year as part of its ‘frontline curriculum,’ : 10 per cent of irrelevant or outdated material is replaced with more pertinent matter, says Vrinda Malse, principal Naval Public School.

Exams and evaluation:
“In ICSE, students are evaluated in a variety of ways across the year. For instance, 20 marks are allotted for project work,” says Jhaveri. SSC still encourages rote learning and the test papers are essentially based on textbooks. Thus, qualitative evaluation of children as done by ICSE and to some extent by CBSE, is not possible with SSC, says Ramakant Pandey, Principal of Bansidhar Agarwal School. ICSE also scores on popularity charts among educationists, as it encourages students to do research and “get into the habit of finding out and not just learning”.

Extra Curricular Activities:
CBSE has a well-networked state and national-level sports activity set, according to Malse. While SSC schools can not recruit teachers for such activities, ICSE gives a free hand to schools to recruit trained teachers.

Courtesy : Times of India

Sandeep Dutt
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