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Rating mandatory for CBSE schools

New Delhi, Sept. 26: Parents will soon be able to choose a CBSE school for their children by consulting an official ratings system rather than having to depend on reputation and perceptions.

All Central Board of Secondary Education schools will for the first time need to undergo formal accreditation by a set of licensed agencies, and must repeat the process after every few years.

A CBSE draft note suggests amendments to the board’s affiliation and examination by-laws, laying down that every school must get itself accredited, and that this must be done within a time limit. The note suggests “a span of three to five years”.

The periodic accreditation will allow the CBSE to maintain a database of quality standards at affiliated institutions in the country. Nearly 10,500 schools — public, private and aided — in India and abroad are affiliated to the board.

Schools will, however, not have to compulsorily disclose their rating, the proposal states. Instead, interested students can seek details on the rating of a school from the rating agency.

“We believe that no affiliated school should have a problem getting rated by a registered agency. Students have a right to know the quality of the school they go to,” a senior CBSE official told The Telegraph.

At present, the CBSE formally examines the quality of a school only at the time it seeks affiliation to the board or wants to expand — from a secondary school to a higher secondary school, for instance.

Education minister Kapil Sibal had proposed a school accreditation mechanism while announcing his 100-day agenda at the start of his term. Earlier this month, at the completion of the first 100 days of the UPA’s second tenure, Sibal had indicated his ministry was working on that proposal. He had then said accreditation would be optional for schools.

But the CBSE, in its draft note circulated to all affiliated schools, has specified that “all affiliated schools would be required to get themselves accredited within a reasonable period of time”. The note provides details of the school accreditation regime that the CBSE and Sibal’s human resource development ministry are proposing.

Under the proposal, the CBSE will set up an expert advisory committee to regulate private accrediting agencies. Private rating agencies can apply to the committee which, after scrutinising applications, will issue licences. Only licensed agencies can accredit schools.

The board will not itself accredit the schools but will act as an appellate body if the rating agencies are unhappy with the expert advisory committee’s decisions.

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