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Land hunt for CISCE research hub

The Council for India School Certificate Examinations (CISCE) is looking for land, preferably in the Rajarhat area, to shift its research and development centre currently operating from its office at Bhowanipore.

The Delhi-based council had an R&D division in the national capital, which was closed in 2007 because of various problems, said Gerry Arathoon, the CISCE secretary and chief executive.

The new unit, named research and development consultancy division (RDCD), was set up in Calcutta this year to revamp the ICSE and ISC syllabi and the examination system and make them more relevant.

“The new division will regularly analyse and review the ICSE and ISC syllabi and examination system and come up with new ideas for upgrading the courses,” said Arathoon.

Teachers and academicians from across the country would regularly meet at the R&D hub to discuss and suggest measures for improving and modernising the syllabi and the examination system, officials said.

The city was chosen for the R&D hub because Bengal has the largest number of schools affiliated to the CISCE board and there wouldn’t be any dearth of good and experienced teachers for the ideating sessions, officials said.

“We need senior and experienced teachers to participate in the brainstorming sessions. Calcutta has the largest pool of schools and teachers,” a source said.

Of the 2,000-odd CISCE-affiliated schools in the country and abroad, Bengal has around 350 and most of them in Calcutta. Officials said five lakh students study in Bengal’s CISCE schools.

The CISCE has planned to set up a full-fledged office for its R&D division somewhere at Rajarhat, depending on the availability of land. A team from Delhi visited the city last week to look at probable sites, though the final location has yet to be decided.

The council hadn’t made any major changes to its ICSE and ISC syllabi after 2010 when the course was modified in tune with the recommendations of the Council of Boards of Secondary Education (COBSE).

“Syllabus revisions and changes in the question and marking patterns were earlier done depending on requirement,” a council source said.

“We had changed the ISC science syllabus four years ago in order to draw parity between the CISCE and other boards. The R&D office will help incorporate changes whenever the council finds it necessary. A major change can happen even within a gap of one year if the researchers recommend.”

“If a shift in IIT-JEE and Pre-Medical Test is noticed, we can make changes in the ISC science and maths syllabi to help our students prepare for the national-level competitive exams. The researchers will monitor the changes in competitive exams and accordingly suggest modification to our syllabi,” a council official said.