CBSE is making learning intuitive, inquiry-based,’ says board secretary

The CBSE board has grown stricter with dummy schools, seeks to standardise teaching practices and plans to expand abroad.

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CBSE board secretary, Himanshu Gupta (Source: Careers360)CBSE board secretary, Himanshu Gupta (Source: Careers360)

Shradha Chettri | February 20, 2024 | 10:19 AM IST

NEW DELHI: The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) is working with the education ministry on introducing ‘modular exams’ and other reforms in line with the National Education Policy. Himanshu Gupta, CBSE’s new secretary, spoke to Careers360 about the relevance of board exams in the context of high-stakes college admission tests like the Common University Entrance Test (CUET), the spread of dummy schools, CBSE’s plans of standardising teaching practices, and expansion abroad.

Q. How is the proposal of introducing two board exams coming along? Will it be entirely up to the students to decide when to write them?

A. The CBSE is working with the ministry on it.

Q. With CUET scores becoming the only requirement for admission in many higher educational institutions, how do you view the relevance of the board exams?

A. When we say boards, the exams are based on the NCERT [National Council of Educational Research and Training] textbooks. CUET is also based on the same books.

We have seen that 60% of the students qualifying CUET are from the CBSE board. This is a big number, which clearly shows that the board and level of teaching in CBSE schools are in consonance with what is required in the CUET and other examinations.

The syllabus prescribed and the kind of assessment are more competency-based. In a way, CBSE is putting all its efforts into making learning very intuitive and inquiry-based.

Q. With changes being introduced in the exam questions and assessment, how is CBSE ensuring the training of teachers?

A. CBSE mandates continuous training of teachers. There is a continuous development module of 50 hours which every teacher has to complete every year. We organise not only offline but also online training of teachers. We have master trainers in every state who ensure that teachers undergo this continuous training.

Also read CBSE proposes treating foreign language as skills subjects under NCrF

Q. What action is CBSE taking against dummy or non-attending schools?

A. CBSE is taking a lot of actions. We are carrying out surprise inspections and analysing data if there is a sudden increase in enrolment of students in Classes 11 and 12. We are issuing show-cause notices and a few schools have been disaffiliated as well.

Q. Are dummy schools a bigger problem in urban or rural areas?

A. It is more in the urban areas, mostly the cities.

Q. When did CBSE start taking action against such schools?

A. Whenever we receive complaints, the board acts against it. We also take suo-motu cognisance and analyse the data of enrolment. If the CBSE board notices a dramatic increase, we then conduct an inspection.

Q. CBSE has cancelled the registration of 26 Bihar schools for charging higher fees and not complying with the guidelines. Registration was cancelled for another 10 schools in Jharkhand. Is there some problem with the affiliation of schools?

A. There is no problem as such. The Bihar and Jharkhand schools had violated the affiliation bye-laws. The only condition is that schools have to follow rules. Now the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act 2016 is being implemented so that schools follow the Act in letter and spirit.

Q. When we talk about the RPWD Act, it is a known fact that schools do not even follow the basic requirement of special educators. What is CBSE doing about it?

A. In case of new affiliations, we are insisting that the RPWD Act should be followed. In old cases, we are taking strict action and issuing show-cause notices if we get any complaint.

Q. With the implementation of National Education Policy (NEP) 2020, introduction of Balvatika is an important aspect of the new school structure. What role does CBSE have in this?

A. Whenever we give new affiliations, we make it clear that schools have to start Balvatikas. For the older ones, we have issued a circular and have asked them to get ready with it. All schools will have the system in the coming year.

Q. What vision do you have for the board as its new secretary?

A. I would like to see pedagogical reform in schools. Teaching should be competency-based and more focussed on student-centric learning rather than the teacher being the one driving the classes. Assessment should be on various parameters. And that is the reason Holistic Progress Cards (HPC) are being developed.

We must also have assessments of schools. It is very important that schools have some sort of quality standards. There should be an assessment of school pedagogy. What sort of teaching is taking place – that will be standardised as well.

Q. What changes do you wish to bring in CBSE schools?

A. There are a lot of things and they will take some time. In education, the most important thing we need to focus on are hardcore issues like teacher’s training and tech-based learning, on starting more courses on Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML). It is an area where we will see more skill-based courses coming up.

Q. What is CBSE doing to mainstream vocational education?

A. In due time, it will be made compulsory for Class 10 students.

Also read CBSE Credit System: Class 9-12 students to study more subjects; changes proposed

Q. The education minister has announced that CBSE is setting up an office in Dubai. Is the CBSE also internationalising? If yes, in what way?

A. We will be developing a framework for internationalising the curriculum. And we will be inviting stakeholders to have a discussion on how to go about it. The ministry also wants to make CBSE a truly international board. CBSE has been able to conduct flawless examinations.

A lot of countries are looking for international boards which can provide proper assessment. Independent assessment is a huge challenge in many countries. We are looking at countries in Africa and the Middle East.

Q. Is the need for internationalisation due to the growing popularity of other international boards?

A. The CBSE is a very sound and strong board. India is becoming a developed country and we really feel the board must also establish its supremacy across the globe. CBSE has a huge strength. Right now it has 30,000 schools affiliated to it. More than four crore students are studying in our schools. Internationally, there are about 250 schools affiliated to CBSE. We want to increase these numbers further.

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To get in touch, write to us at news@careers360.com.

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