The Hindu-EducationPlus, published on April 7, Ashok Ganguly, chairman of the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), spoke at length on issues ranging from the HOTS-based question papers to the Board’s foray into vocation-based courses. In the second part, he lays down the roadmap for the CBSE in the years to come and looks back on the milestones during his tenure as chairman.
Can you give us a roadmap for the CBSE in the coming years? What would be the most important things that the Board should address?
Going by what is happening in the area of secondary education, the move for universalisation of secondary education, I am expecting a huge demand for teachers. Looking into what is happening in other areas, it may be difficult to find good teachers. Existing teachers are becoming semi-skilled.
So the first priority should be in-service teacher training programmes organised by the respective organisations. There should be a minimum period of teacher training every year. This I will say is the first priority.
Then comes the assessment part. The continuous comprehensive assessment that only gives the grade point average that has now been introduced till class 10 should be extended to class 12.
We also need to see whether a certain amount of autonomy can be given to the schools till standard 10. But there has to be accountability along with autonomy.
Apart from this, the students should be given exposure to certain life-skills programme, along with the adolescent education programme. I am a firm believer in this; the need to give certain critical inputs to adolescents so that they are appropriately empowered and they get the correct information on things.
Fourthly, I believe that language, mathematics and science should become the critical areas of school education. We should see how we can give communication skills to the students, how we can make mathematics interesting and enjoyable, more project-oriented and how the teaching of mathematics can be promoted.
Lastly, the technology part; teachers should know how to appropriately integrate technology in teaching.
The government has initiated the process of identifying a new chairman for the CBSE …
Yes, yes, one has to call it a day after so long …
What, then, would you list as the high points of your tenure as CBSE chairman?
Most important, the empowerment of the heads of institutions —the principals. Unless the heads are empowered, whatever we conceptualise will not get reflected in the school environment. So I have this satisfaction that principals have been appropriately empowered through various collaborative efforts.
Another important point is that the CBSE has been firmly placed in the international scenario. Its voice has been heard. When you talk about the mathematics laboratory — certain innovations have been built into it — people recognise it at an international level.
Then, we have made a systematic effort to make the years of schooling an enjoyable experience, a stress-free experience.
There was a lot of resistance initially … Now we have greater acceptance for the grading system. We have greater acceptance for the continuous and comprehensive evaluation system. Earlier, the thinking was that without examinations, without marks and without ranks, nothing was possible. This has now changed. There are other areas where achievements have been made but I have told you only the most important ones, since you asked me about the high points …
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