Centre, state divide may widen further

Last Updated : 04 July 2009, 16:31 IST

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CBSE schools in Karnataka are outside the purview of the state government but have set benchmarks which the state education department has found hard to digest or even replicate.

Be it revamp of curricula, pedagogy, quality of text books, content and orientation or even examination results, CBSE schools, year after year, have been outperforming state board affiliate schools.

In Karnataka, majority of class X students in the state take the examination conducted by the Karnataka Secondary Education Examination Board (KSEEB). CBSE Class X students are a minuscule minority mostly confined to private schools and Kendriya Vidyalayas. In March this year more than eight lakh students appeared for the SSLC examination conducted by the state board compared to their 30,000 CBSE counterparts.

Successive state governments have been on record branding CBSE schools as elitist and terming it “impractical” to replicate the reforms taken by central board in state schools. So it came as no surprise that the BJP government was critical of the proposal of Human Resources Development Minister Kapil Sibal of making CBSE Class X exam optional. Primary and Secondary Education Minister Visvesvara Hegde Kageri termed the proposal “impractical and “unilateral.”

State differs
The state government is of the view that the Centre need to have consulted all stakeholders before announcing the move. “While the state government is not against examination reforms, scrapping exams or having uniform syllabus is no solution for the present problems plaguing the education system. What is required is a comprehensive review of the content,” Kageri says. The government will place its views before the Centre soon.

At the same time, the ruling dispensation has remained firm in its resolve to continue with SSLC examination for Class X students in the state.

Sibal’s proposal to make CBSE Class X examination optional will lead to further alienation between state and central board schools, point out experts. In fact, the state government is going ahead with its own set of reforms for the SSLC question paper pattern. It is planning to reduce the number of multiple choice questions and provide greater weightage to essay type questions. Presently, core subjects (Maths, Science and Social Studies) have objective questions for 60 marks and 40 for descriptive type. In languages, the corresponding marks are 60 and 40 respectively.

“The grading system and internal assessment proposed by the central board at Class X to replace the board examination is complex and unlikely to be accepted by the state government. In effect it would mean blocking all avenues for higher education,” points out a senior official in the education department.

Switch over hurdles
A CBSE student, planning to switch over to the state board at the pre-university (PU) level would then have no option but to appear for the board examination. Presently, five per cent of seats in Pre-university colleges are reserved for CBSE students who want to switch over to the state syllabus. A Class X student can avail the benefit of this provision only if he takes the board examination as the grading system is not recognised by the pre-university department.

Also caught in the crossfire would be students of Navodaya Vidyalaya. These CBSE affiliate institutions cater to rural students in a residential school system. The polarisation of the state and central boards is likely to create hurdles for the students if they want to switch over to the state board.

Published 04 July 2009, 16:31 IST

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