Schools on smart course

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By OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT in Calcutta
  • Published 7.05.05
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Calcutta, May 7: The West Bengal Board of Secondary Education has decided to pull up its socks, so it’s time for students to put on their dancing shoes.

Competition from mushrooming ICSE and CBSE schools in the city has prompted the state board to introduce a special programme for its students, especially those in Bengali-medium schools.

It plans to introduce a host of extra-curricular activities, including debates, song and dance performances, drama, creative writing, quiz competitions and social service, board officials said.

The board wants to give the children opportunities for ?all-round development? and the ?right kind? of grooming to make them smart enough to compete with counterparts in English-medium schools, particularly when they go looking for jobs.

?Every child has the right of access to opportunity. We want to ensure that each of our students is able to face modern-day challenges. Our proposed activities will give them the training for personality development from a tender age, which is extremely important for facing challenges,? Dibyendu Hota, the board president, said.

There have been increasing complaints about meritorious students of Bengali- medium Madhyamik schools performing ?miserably? in group discussions and interviews while seeking jobs in multinational companies.

The board, Hota said, is expected to hold its first round of meetings on how to introduce the scheme in over 600 Bengali-medium schools across Calcutta after the results of this year’s Madhyamik examinations are declared in the beginning of next month.

Most Madhyamik schools give extra-curricular activities a miss due to lack of infrastructure. Sources in the board said in some schools, the situation is so bad that annual events like sports, concerts and prize distribution functions are not held.

On the contrary, the ICSE and CBSE have made it compulsory for all affiliated schools ? approximately 400 in the city ? to regularly conduct extra-curricular activities.

The board, according to sources, will soon hold discussions with the state school education department to decide ways to develop infrastructure.

Since a considerable amount of funds will be required, it will submit a proposal to the government to introduce a system whereby a cluster of schools in a particular area can share infrastructure like auditoriums and playgrounds.

Madhyamik school teachers have welcomed the move. But say more teachers will be needed to implement the scheme properly.

?The board must ensure that the academic activities in the schools do not suffer,? said Ashoke Maity, the general secretary of the board.