The country’s education system continues to be in a churn as the BJP-led NDA government appears set on overturning reforms initiated in the past five years.
The government wants to introduce an altered form of aptitude test for students of class 10 to help them choose their subjects in junior college. It has reversed a no-detention policy and looking to make the Central Board of Secondary Education’s (CBSE) optional class 10 board exam mandatory again.
These were among a string of reforms that the previous UPA government initiated during its decade-long rule till 2014.
Another reform measure that the government has changed was its own. The human resource ministry had planned to set up a national authority for testing (NAT) to screen candidates before the joint entrance exam (JEE). But the IIT Council meeting in August decided that the test will be changed into a pilot programme and a voluntary exercise.
The current system of JEE Main and Advanced will continue, though.
“India lacks a practical education policy … We need to have a set of wise experts, who can sit down and devise a policy which is rooted in practicality and is interesting as well as useful without being burdensome,” former Delhi University vice-chancellor Dinesh Singh said.
The CBSE was the first school board in the country to introduce an aptitude assessment for class 10 in 2011. But it did not conduct the tests in 2015 and 2016 because the human resource development ministry wants to bring a modified version modeled on the CBSE’s test, sources said.
A committee, comprising officials from the CBSE, National Council for Educational Research and Training (NCERT) and psychometric experts, was formed to work out the details. But the prototype has yet to take off from the drawing board.
Students appreciated the CBSE’s previous version of the aptitude test, which the board is likely to reintroduce next year probably with a few minor changes. A review and a final decision are pending, though.
The UPA government had decided to make the class 10 board exam optional for students in schools affiliated to the CBSE.
But the NDA government wants to make the exam compulsory again as many schools and parents have complained of dipping quality because people no longer cared for the class 10 finals, which were once considered the stepping stone to higher studies.
The no-detention policy under the right to education (RTE) act allows students up to class 8 to be automatically promoted even if they fail to make the minimum grades.
The system was introduced in 2010 as part of the “continuous and comprehensive evaluation” (CCE) for overall development of students.
But criticism engulfed the policy, prompting the HRD ministry at a recent Central Advisory Board of Education meeting to let the states decide if they want to continue with it.
The policy can be revoked by amending the act and an executive order can decide on the class X board exam.