Date : 10/25/2014

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Ashok Ganguly, chairman, Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), speaks about the performance in 2003 Board results.

What has been the real success of 2003 Board results?
The real achievement has been the increase in the pass percentage of government schools, Jawahar Navodya Vidyalayas and Kendriya Vidyalayas. Their performance has bridged some gap between them and the private schools. A large number of students have received merit certificates in various subjects too.

What type of flexibility does CBSE offer in the choice of subjects?
The CBSE offers a wide variety of subjects, flexibility and autonomy to the schools. Universities consider subjects like biotechnology and multimedia as vocational. Their course structure has been reframed to make them more acceptable. We do not offer any fixed combination of subjects or classify them into streams. To avoid difficulties in higher education, the schools facilitate certain combinations.

How can the gap between school and university education be bridged?
Strong coordination and cooperation needs to be established to facilitate effective linkages between school and university education. There shouldn't be any overlap in the curriculum of the two and new subjects should be introduced at the UG level. Moreover, certain components of class X performance should be considered.

What is your opinion about grading vis-a-vis marking?
The reason for stress among students is to score high percentage of marks. Marks alone cannot determine the success of a student. Grades will reduce stress, can be converted to any level of decimal point one wants and encourage continuous assessment and evaluation
In the system.

What are your comments on the evaluation system? What is the reason for the low percentage of marks in English this year?
Ours is a foolproof, meticulous and scientific system of evaluation. The objective and marking behind each question is clearly defined. The answer sheet goes through various stages of correction. Students take subjects like English lightly. This is reflected in the answer sheets as value points were missing. The public school teachers have evaluated answer sheets. Presently we are looking into the matter.

Any future plans on the anvil?
The CBSE aims at holistic education. From this academic year, we are introducing life skill education from class VI to X. Disaster Management Education from class VIII to X and functional English in class XI. In addition, we have suggested to do away with homework and school bags up to class II, no categorisation of pass and fail up to class V and grading system at least up to I class VIII.

 ICSI sign MOU with NISET

The Institute of Company Secretaries of India (ICSI) and the National lnstitute of Small Industry Extension Training (NISIET), Ministry of Small Scale Industries, have signed an MOU to jointly organise and conduct executive development programmes, workshops, seminars and educational programmes. The MOU was signed by S V Prabhath, Principal Director, NISIET and Pavan Kumar Vijay, President, ICSI, at Hyderabad. The tie up will facilitate training, research, and consultancy and information services for the professional development of working executives, academicians and students. 

 Fair & Lovely Foundation for women

To foster economic empowerment of Indian women through education, career and enterprise, the Hindustan Lever Limited's Hindustan Lever Educational and Welfare Trust has launched the Fair & Lovely Foundation. The advisors to the foundation are Dr Snehalata Deshmukh, Ex- Vice Chancellor, Mumbai University; Dr Malika Sarabhai, Director, Darpana Academy and Dr Rekha Sheth, President, Cosmetologist Society of India. The Foundation started career and enterprise programmes with partners like Andhra Pradesh Government and Dr Reddy's Foundation amongst others. Among the series of the project is "Project Saraswati" given across 5 districts with the lowest HDI (Human Development Index) in select States - under which 100 rural scholarships will be given to girls who have passed their l0th grade. In the urban phase of this project, the Foundation will give 20 scholarships for postgraduate studies. 

 When Classrooms Go Hi-Tech

For the typical teacher, it's often hard to know if students have understood any given lesson until they're tested. However, teachers of Class V--IX at Delhi Public School (Mathura Road), Modern School and a few others now have an advantage -computers complement their teaching methodology; Everything is the same: the classroom, the blackboard, students and the teacher -it's only the addition of a monitor on the teacher's table and a television mounted on top of the blackboard that have introduced a new dimension to the conventional pedagogy.

This is the result of the Bhartiyavidya, an NCERT curriculum specific, multi- media-based, computer- aided teaching software. Developed by JIL Information Technology Ltd., which was established two years ago, as an offshoot of the Jaypee Group, Bhartiyavidya aims to empower teachers. says Alok Gaur, Director, JIL Information Technology Ltd.; "Often teachers find it difficult to explain a concept to students by merely illustrating an example on a 2D board. That's where Bhartiyavidya comes in, as it brings the element of 3D with visual effects into classrooms." 

The software is equipped with pictorial representations of the academic curricula of NCERT. For instance, if a teacher is trying to explain the movement of human bones in a body; a two-dimensional diagram on the blackboard will be able to show the structure but not its movement. Or when a teacher tries to explain the Pythagoras theorem. Both require visual elements .to make comprehension easier for students and Bhartiyavidya can help in such instances. "The monitor will show visuals, graphics or diagrams wherever required to make the subject more comprehensible". There is no commentator to do the teacher's job. In fact, the voiceless capsules enable the software to get around the language barrier. The teacher can use the visuals in any way; even suspending these three to four minute capsules to go back to the blackboard or the textbook," explains Gaur. 

At present, the Bhartiyavidya capsules cover subjects like Science, Social Studies and Maths for Classes V--IX. The hardware and network architecture of the Bhartiyavidya solution requires a central server that is connected to computers placed in classrooms and staff rooms through a Local Area Network. The content is stored in a central server in a database and only authorised users can access it. Teachers can view the content using a menu-driven User Interface (UI) by using a pre-programmed name and password that gives them access. They first have to create a lesson plan by selecting a set of capsules that they'd like to use as part of the subject they teach by previewing the capsules in the staff room mode of the UI. The capsule is then displayed on the monitor and the television in the class- room. "Since everything is on a server and nothing is stored on the hard disk, common access is not a problem. Fonts used are large enough to be clearly legible from the last row of the room. Moreover, since it's on a television and not through a projector, rooms can continue to be well-lit, with no need to switch off the lights," says Gaur. 

Currently Bhartiyavidya is running in more than 100 schools in 17 states across the country. JIL grants the license to use the software on a yearly basis. "Most schools have renewed their account this year. The cost ranges Rs. one--four lakhs per year, depending on the modules selected. The period has been restricted to a year, as the modules need to be upgraded regularly. It also gives the school the choice of discontinuing the software (by not renewing the license) if it fails to serve its purpose. Schools can also try the shorter version. If they find Bhartiyavidya worthwhile, they will surely come back," says Gaur confidently.

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