Loreto House has long been a feather in the state Higher Secondary (HS) council cap, as one of the few high-profile Christian missionary-run affiliates not to cross over to the Council for Indian School Certificate (ISC) Examination.
Not any more. The 162-year-old Loreto House is all set to switch affiliation from the HS council to ISC from 2005. The aim, primarily, is to ensure continuity from Class X to the Plus-II stage and stop a switchover, post-ICSE.
'At present, we follow the ICSE system up to Class X and, thereafter, the HS exam system conducted by the state board at the Plus-II level. As a result, we have been losing good students to other ISC-category schools at the Plus-II level,' said a Loreto House official.
'Going by current indications, we should be able to convert to the new system in early 2005,' the official added.
Gopa Dutta, president, West Bengal Council for Higher Secondary Education, said: 'We have received a formal application from Loreto House, informing us about their decision to discontinue with our affiliation. Examining the reasons cited by the school for the changeover, we have given our clearance.'
Admitting it was a matter of concern that more and more institutions were switching to the Delhi-based board, Dutta added: 'We cannot stop any school from switching affiliation if students say they are going to benefit.'
Also ready for conversion is another English-medium school, Nopany Vidyalaya. An affiliate to the Madhyamik-HS boards for the past 50 years, the Burrabazar institution will switch over to the ICSE-ISC camp from next year.
'In addition to old reputed schools, we have several proposals for ICSE and ISC affiliations from organisations interested in setting up new English-medium schools in Calcutta,' observed G. Arathoon, deputy secretary, Council for Indian School Certificate Examination, and head of the council's Calcutta branch.
These are led by the likes of Indranath Guha's Garden High and Nopany group's Pretoria High.
'The biggest disadvantage of continuing with the state boards is their language policy. If the demands of a modern student are to be considered, it becomes pointless running an English-medium school under a system that doesn't help in developing a student's knowledge of English,' argued B.K. Nopany.
Other disadvantages of the state board-run courses identified by the schools are:
The ICSE and ISC courses are oriented to most major national-level competitive exams, like the IIT entrance tests and IAS. This gives ISC students a head start while preparing for competitive exams.
The HS syllabus is more geared towards the state joint entrance exams.
The ICSE and ISC results are declared much before the Madhyamik and HS results, so students can leave the city for further studies.
Mistakes in results in Madhyamik-HS outnumber those in ICSE-ISC.