Friday, October 1, 2010

CBSE Research Center to Prometric? A parallel for NCERT & NUEPA?

All at CBSE on CCE is Excellent; except their Class X Aptitude Test & the proposed new Centre for Assessment, Evaluation and Research (CAER).
Some people go crazy when they see a lot money suddenly.  Is that what happened to CBSE too? They have a lot of money at their disposal to implement the CCE, a well designed stuff by NCERT through NCF 2005.
CBSE, an apparently well managed government body, now think to create a parallel to NCERT & NUEPA. Is the idea originated from a well designed thought of siphoning off money in the name of CCE by awarding the so called research center to Prometric, a subsidiary of ETS, USA? I have serious doubts.
Why? If you look at CBSE circular without number ( click here to view ) and date, you can see that the Pre-qualification criteria for the Agency to become a partner in establishing the so called Research Center (CAER), is made such a way that only Prometric, a subsidiary of ETS can apply for it.
CBSE says the intent of CAER is to have highly qualified teachers in every classroom in the next five years.  Currently Teacher Training (TT) for CBSE schools are conducted by NCERT. And all teachers are happy with this. Only problem they face is the frequency of the sessions and the number of participating teachers. CBSE may go for a survey/ feedback of these programs with its own teachers. These programs maintain very high standards and the lack of follow up by CBSE makes it effectively ineffective. Who else will be better to train teachers on CCE than the creators of CCE itself?  
Do you feel we need Prometric or any body other than NCERT or NUEPA to conduct Professional Teacher Development Programs under Indian conditions? Why can’t this work to be allotted to NCERT, a well managed,  disciplined intellectual body? What NCERT and its subsidiary departments / organizations have been doing all these years? Aren’t they helping you? You lookafter CCE, a baby delivered by NCERT, after almost 10 years of painful pregnancy. The NCERT textbooks talk for itself and are appreciated by educationists all across the world for its scientific approach, activity based learning, inclusion and Indianisation. When CBSE talks contrary to all these, I seriously doubt is there a serious disconnect between NCERT & CBSE?

CBSE says the Centre will be established as a Public Private Partnership between CBSE and the partner organisation. The character of the Centre will be not for profit and it will create capacity and resources and bid for projects leading to self sustaining stature. It might also seek financial grants and funds from International bodies and agencies. Why can’t CBSE do this with NCERT and allow these funds go to this highly efficient body?

Further CBSE states the development of infrastructure, to be the responsibility of CBSE and Financial input, academic expertise and capacity building, to be provided by the partner organization.  What is the necessity of more infrastructure, when you can leverage the same through NCERT ?

The Centre – CAER, will create research capability and assessment resources of international quality. Through diagnostic testing it will establish a system to provide input to CBSE regarding student learning as well as providing professional development and leadership training. This is clearly defined in various position papers and in NCF 2005 itself by NCERT.   The CAER will also conduct research into policies and programs that can improve student learning and teaching quality. NCERT & NUEPA does the same currently. Do we need a third center that too an international firm to replicate the same work and loot us?  

The Centre will be developed using a three-year phased approach and it is expected that it would be well established “self sustaining institute” by the end of this period.
The word self sustaining indicates shedding of non profit characteristics in three years time for profit.  It says resources created or research undertaken in any work by CAER will use as a foundation the National Curriculum Framework of NCERT and the Continuous Comprehensive Evaluation (CCE) guidelines. This means CAER once again replicates what NCERT does!

CAER’s Department of Research & Assessment will be responsible for establishing school based assessment guidelines and will aim to create, trial and support the implementation of school based assessment, which is done by NCERT though NCF 2005. The Department of Research & Assessment will also review the Medical and Engineering Entrance Examination. Why can’t we assume that CAER is proposed to tackle entrance exams and make it online at an early date? And award the same to prometric?

CBSE says the Department of Research & Assessment will be involved with the creation and / or adaptation of proficiency and diagnostic tests to track and report student learning. These are defined again in NCF, your Bible, by NCERT. This will be followed by the identification and establishment of core subject groups who will then continue to create, trial and support implementing of resources for school based assessment. NUEPA  & NCERT are meant for this and are highly competent bodies.
It is expected that in the first two years of CAER’s functioning, the Department of Research & Assessment will be able to create enough assessment resources and guidelines to enable teachers to implement School Based Assessment as per the CCE guidelines. Is CBSE trying to  say that, for these two years we cannot have proper CCE assessments and children suffer? The Department will also aim to collect student data from all schools to track and report on student learning and will particularly identify areas where improvement is needed. CBSE may note that there are built in mechanisms in CCE FAs for remedial teaching according to student’s learning style. I advice CBSE to read NCF thoroughly before they plan. I request Mr. Kapil Sibal to take a note of this.

Under CAER, the core group identified for the Medical and Engineering Entrance Examination will review the Examination, redesign the framework and move towards online testing, as well as assuming responsibility for developing and designing a SAT equivalent assessment. Shall I say, this is the only idea of  CAER? And give away huge money to prometric in the name CCE? I do not think we need prometric to set an Indian SAT.

The Department of Professional Development and Leadership under CAER will aim to strengthen the teaching profession and to monitor the progress and achievements of educational leaders and teachers. The roles carried out by the Department would also possibly include professional recruitment, initial teacher education and induction, professional learning and leadership, the establishment of professional learning communities, teacher evaluation and career development. Currently IIMs are helping CBSE in this. Why can’t we put the still untapped potential for optimal use? For recruitments and evaluation, NCERT & NUEPA can help the CBSE, well.

CBSE indicates that Schools and school systems must realise the importance of and the need for major investment in the professional development of their teachers. It says CAER will support CBSE on this. But these are the key functions of NCERT, its subsidiaries & NUEPA. Under CAER, the Role of the Department of Professional Development and Leadership will be

1.      Making available specialised training and certifying teachers. Yet another money minting exercise for the non profit partner, which can be easily excuted by NCERT.
2.      Developing an annual list of short term courses on topics of interest related to best practices in the international education field, while a lot of devoted websites are doing it free of cost.
3.      Working closely with the education authorities and institutions to design programs meeting specific requirements. NCERT & NUEPA are the best under Indian standards.
4.      Identifying Indian resource people and inviting them to undertake required courses and programs, to equip them with skills to implement and monitor assessment programs. A respectful thing by CBSE! But this can be done few days using social networking sites.
5.      Providing teachers with advice on professional development pathways. This support will include the identification of appropriate courses, advising on program availability, as well as monitoring the quality of the courses. Relevant research concerning continuing professional development will also be identified.
6.      Establishing a National Professional Learning Association.  I feel that there is a plan to offer short term courses on teaching and get  teachers teach in schools without B Ed.? Making membership compulsory for teachers can generate a lot of money.

I believe that under the given circumstances, the following can be thought of seriously.
1.      If NIC can handle huge hits on the days of results on its website, why it is afraid of its own capability to handle both CBSE entrance tests and CAT? Prometric already showed us that their systems are not foolproof, through last year’s CAT. Let entrance exams and even Class X Optional proficiency test be ON DEMAD, online. Let them take it at dedicated centers throughout the year, may be any number of times.
2.      Let NCERT do its work. When you have NCERT written Bible, why you ask foreigners to preach the Gospel to us?
3.      Ask NCERT to device assessments for CCE and for Teacher Training.
4.      USE technology to give easy access. Have a portal on Teacher Resources.
5.      Take steps to reduce the existing disconnect between CBSE & NCERT and bring them closer rather than creating a parallel to NCERT.
6.      Get excellent teacher educators through various online communities in flat one week’s time! (Experimented by us and highly successful!)
The entire responsibility of CAER can be easily shouldered by NCERT, NUEPA & NIC.  Inject some more financial muscle to them. Let grants go to them. That is the need of the hour. Not prometric. If prometric is not getting business in US due to minority youth population in that country, we need not offer them business in India and please them.
He who has ears to hear, let him hear!
Author can be contacted on his email: The views expressed are his personal.

Monday, September 13, 2010

What after CBSE CCE? Sneak peak to the future of K-12 education in India

• Optional Proficiency Test under PTS with National Percentile Ranking in five subjects for Class X in June 2011.

• National Aptitude Test (NAT) replacing IIT – JEE and almost all other Class XII (Common Streams) tests from June 2013.

• Professional Streams after class XII will consider students’ grades along with NAT from Class XII with higher eligibility grades at Class XII for IIT admissions.

• National University Entrance Test (can be christened differently) by 2013 for admissions to UG courses; even for a correspondence degree.

• CBSE will make it mandatory for schools to have full fledged ICT facilities.

• ICT will take over most of the teacher functionalities.

• PTS and NAT will become online tests.

• Schooling with school will not be mandatory to take CCE and Optional Proficiency Test under PTS for Class X from year 2013(?)

Advantage Students & Government:

• Students will be routed through conceptual clarity in their studies.

• Tension free, interesting school with Kerala model Praveshanotsavam (Entrance Festival) on from the school opening day onwards

• Teachers are made accountable in the process and they too learn from the teaching learning process with students.

• Teacher will become just a facilitator only who too will learn with the student.

• Good teachers will be paid highly and deliver nicely just not for a school but for the entire country though ICT

• Addresses the scarcity of teachers

• Back door corporate entry into schooling through homeschooling & unschooling that solves the infrastructure issue to school 50% of our population under 20 years of age

Author can be contacted on his email: The views expressed are his personal.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

CBSE CCE : Our Predictions – The Hidden Agenda

India is a country with more than 50% of the population is below 20 years of age. We lack educational infrastructure and teachers. Govt. is also struggling due to the lack of resource to support this 50%.