“No, such segregation (of BC students) is unacceptable,” Sibal said while interacting with a large group of teachers after delivering the first memorial lecture to honour Kuruvila Jacob, late headmaster of the Madras Christian College School. Union Home Minister P
Chidambaram, an alumnus of the school, was among those who attended the lecture.
When a teacher in the audience sought to know if the Centre could allow private school managements to start separate branches exclusively for BC students as clubbing them with mainstream students dented the quality of teaching, Sibal promptly rejected it.
Calling for a national debate on the question of giving autonomy to well-performing schools, Sibal said the issue of fees charged by private schools has to be addressed at the state level.
To a question on the quality of teachers even in colleges being very poor, the minister said the Centre was now devising a programme through the District Institutes of Education and Training network in each state and have “requested state governments to have a teachers trainers cadre.” Under the proposed scheme, university teachers will go on deputation to DIETs to train school teachers and this will be an important initiative to improve the quality of teaching in schools, Sibal said.
Listing the challenges facing the country’s educational sector, he said part of the problem was with parents who wanted their children only to pursue science and management streams, where job opportunities were more with “fat salaries”.
There should be more vocational courses at the 10th and plus two level and students can pursue courses in mathematics with music if they so wished, the HRD Minister said. At the plus two level, five aspects of English language were being considered for introduction, giving students a wider choice to go to an arts university, Sibal said.
Making it clear that his ministry was not for ushering a national-level common curriculum, Sibal said what the Centre had aimed at was not a common curriculum which meant uniform syllabus throughout the country, but having a core curriculum in subjects like mathematics, physics, chemistry and biology. They would basically be the same and not subject to “regional diversities”. All the state boards in the country were veering round to that view and “by the year 2013, I hope there will be one paper in core curriculum’, Sibal added.