Sibal for integration of boards

Literacy Mission: Grading system in CBSE schools from next session

Sibal for integration of boards

Kapil Sibal“We have as many as 41 school boards, and I am given to understand that one state has four boards. Why can’t we have four regional boards — north, south, east and west?” Sibal asked.

He was addressing a two-day conference on education reforms jointly organised by the Council of Boards of School Education (COBSE) and the Central Board for Secondary Education (CBSE).

Suggestion
However, he was quick to add that it was only a suggestion, which the state boards should consider and not a “government decision.”

The Human Resource Development Minister also asked the participants to draw up a core curriculum in Mathematics and Science subjects to ensure uniformity in science education as otherwise the quality of professional educational would suffer.

“We might have diversity in curriculum in history, geography or environment as it might differ from state to state. But we cannot have diversity in our science curriculum,” the minister said, adding that a consensus should be evolved among the state boards to draw up such a curriculum.

He also suggested that the state boards follow the three language formula with the vernacular-Hindi-English subjects at the school level in the interest of the child.

“While the knowledge of Hindi is required for the child’s communication with his peers in other parts of the country, English is required for his success in the professional world,” he said.

A senior Human Resource Development Ministry official said on the sidelines of the conference that grading system would be introduced in Central Board of Secondary Education  schools from the next academic year.

Central Board of Secondary Education chief Vineet Joshi said the grades would cover a range of marks by which the students would be assessed.

Students getting above 90 per cent would be given A+ Grade, while those getting above 80 per cent would get A grade.

The last grade would be E, which would be less than 30 marks.

“The system and the range of marks for grades are being finetuned, and we will finalise it soon. The grades will be accorded based on absolute marks," Joshi said, adding that the marksheet would use the word “unsatisfactory” instead of “failed” once the grading system comes into effect.

Karnataka gets special focus
Shruba Mukherjee, NEW DELHI, Aug 24, DHNS:
Seventeen districts of Karnataka with less than 50 per cent female literacy will get special focus in a newly structured National Literacy Mission (NLM) to be launched by the Centre soon.

The districts are Raichur, Gulbarga, Koppal, Chamrajanagar, Bijapur, Bagalkot, Bellary, Bidar, Mandya, Kolar, Gadag, Belgaum, Chitradurga, Bangalore (Rural), Mysore, Tumkur and Haveri.

While the female literacy rate in Raichur is at the bottom of the rung, with only 27.75 per cent, it is 48.96 per cent in Haveri. The HRD Ministry has identified a total of 365 districts (including 17 from Karnataka) across the country for the programme. It  has also earmarked Rs 600 crore for the programme in the 11th Plan period.

The NLM, which was launched in 1980, became virtually defunct in the course of time. In its new avatar, the mission will be implemented by panchayats at the grassroots level with focus on female literacy. “Many of the objectives of the earlier mission have not been fulfilled as there was no link between the Centre, states and district administrations,” HRD Minister Kapil Sibal said after the 11th meeting of the NLM Authority here on Friday.

Elaborating on the guiding principles of the mission, which will have 75 per cent funding from the Centre and the rest from states, the minister said the basic literacy programme would be implemented in a mission mode with the objective of achieving 100 per cent female literacy before the end of the 12th Plan period. “While the male literacy rate is 75 per cent, only 54 per cent of our women are literate, and when it comes to SC/ST, the rate is only 47 per cent,” Sibal said. However, he did not specify when the programme would be launched.

At the beginning of the second innings of the UPA government, President Pratibha Patil had mentioned in her address to the joint session of Parliament that the National Literacy Mission should be more oriented towards female literacy.

Specifying the change in the nature of the Mission, Sibal said: “Earlier, literacy meant only the ‘three Rs’—reading, writing and arithmetic. But now we have also included skill development, and thus if anybody wants to enter the mission to learn computers, it is fine.”

While the upper-age limit of 35 years would be removed, the minimum age for entry would be 15 years as before. However, a question mark hangs over the effective implementation of the programme, as it will not engage qualified teachers but will rely on volunteers with little or no previous experience in teaching.

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