The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Delhi till X, Bengal beyond
- ISC syllabus better, but HS gets students easier college entry

Bad news for the state-controlled West Bengal Board of Secondary Education, that conducts the Madhyamik exams (Class X).

Some well-known English-medium schools have decided to switch over to the Delhi-based Council for Indian School Certificate Examinations (ISCE).

The fate of another state-controlled education body — West Bengal Council for Higher Secondary Education — seems just the reverse.

It runs the Class XII Higher Secondary (HS) course. Unlike the board, which is gradually losing English-medium schools, the HS council is attracting more such institutions.

Sources in the education department say at least 20 proposals submitted to the government by various individuals and organisations for opening new English-medium schools follow this “new trend”.

An increasing demand among students has prompted the authorities of the upcoming schools to run the HS course after Class X. The students prefer to study ICSE till Class X and switch over to HS from Class XI, instead of studying the Indian School Certificate (ISC), the Plus II course of the ISCE council.

S.K. Srivastav, official of a Howrah-based education trust that plans to set up a new English-medium school, confirmed that the trend to study the ICSE course till Class X and then switch over to HS in Class XI and XII is increasing.

Dilip Bhattacharya, general secretary of the Association of Teachers of Anglo-Indian Schools, admitted that though the ISC syllabus is of a standard much higher than that followed by the state-controlled HS council, many students in Calcutta prefer to go in for the HS course.

The students say they prefer HS because after passing this exam, it is easier to get admission in BA, B.Sc and B.Com courses of their choice offered in the city’s colleges.

The under-graduate colleges are mostly affiliated with Calcutta University (CU), a state-run institution. These colleges usually fix a high cut-off percentage of marks for admission of students who come from boards other than the HS council.

For instance, on an average, an ISC student would have to obtain a minimum 15 per cent marks more in the aggregate than his counterpart from the HS stream to seek admission into any CU-affiliated college.

“The authorities of at least 10 organisations setting up new schools in Calcutta and Howrah have approached us to find out if they may be allowed to run the HS course while remaining under the control of the ISCE council till the Class X examination,” admitted Jyotirmoy Mukherjee, president, HS council.

In view of the increasing demand, the council authorities will hold a meeting with state school education minister Kanti Biswas next week.

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