The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Subjects of discord in school boards

Students of the Indian Council of Secondary Education (ICSE) find it difficult to join schools under the Council of Higher Secondary (HS) Education because most of them do not have science and mathematics as compulsory subjects. Education department officials on Tuesday urged the outstation boards to make these subjects compulsory at the school level, so students do not “suffer”.

“In the Bengal board, mathematics and science are compulsory subjects, but optional in the other boards. So, students face a problem when seeking admission in HS schools,” said J. Mukhopadhyay, board president. He was addressing a seminar organised by the Association of Teachers in Anglo-Indian Schools (West Bengal) on Tuesday.

Mukhopadhyay criticised the other boards for their policy of evaluating students only on the basis of their performance in Class X and XII. “We in Bengal assess Madhyamik students by how they have fared in Classes IX and X. In HS, we judge the performance in Classes XI and XII,” he elaborated. He urged boards like the ICSE “to take into account the student’s performance in Classes IX and XI too”.

The HS council, Mukhopadhyay said, was planning to implement a new syllabus from the 2004-2005 session. “The syllabus will be an extension of the Class X course. It aims at a parity with other boards,” he said.

Speakers at the seminar, Role of Teachers in Anglo-Indian Schools for Implementing the Changed Curriculum and Evaluation, also stressed on the need for coordination among boards.

A.S. Raj, rector of Nopany Vidyalaya and former principal of La Martiniere for Boys, Calcutta, said students of the ICSE board were denied entry in some schools due to lack of coordination among boards. “Students are suffering because of this,” he said. “The Madhyamik syllabus is vast, compared to ICSE, and teachers, too, face a problem,” Raj observed.

Conflicting opinions within the government on introduction of English were sending confusing signals, Raj added. “Former chief minister Jyoti Basu wanted English from Class I, the commission recommended it from Class V, while the minister concerned says he has to take the opinion of various teachers’ bodies. All this is very puzzling,” Raj pointed out.

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