Are CBSE exams getting tougher for UAE students?

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Principals, teachers, students and parents have cautiously welcomed the examination scheme announced by India’s Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), which will drastically alter the way students are taught and prepared for the final year CBSE examinations.

Now, formative and summative assessment patterns for grades 6 to 10 students will be discontinued. Grade 10 students will have to take compulsory board examinations with cumulative portions from the entire year.

Parents of students who have been asked to change overnight to the new examination module are skeptical and said more time is needed to prepare their children for facing the CBSE board examinations in 2018.

Speaking to Khaleej Times, the principal of a leading Indian school in Sharjah said the new CBSE system will make students and teachers work harder. The system of getting good grades for Gulf-based Indian schools and students will be a thing of past, according to KR Radhakrishnan Nair, Principal of the Sharjah Indian School. “Supervision and evaluation of examinations by the schools themselves will be over and rigorous preparation will be needed to get good marks in examinations,” he said.

Schools that opted for the CBSE-I will discontinue the same from the coming academic year, said KRS Nair, former principal of New India Model School, Dubai. “It was a new initiative, there were no specific textbooks. The purpose was to develop students’ overall ability with the help of teachers who work as guides. Students could explore on their own. But the drawback was that they had to be monitored constantly,” said Nair.

S J Jacob, principal, Al Ameer Indian School, Ajman, and office bearer of Sahodaya, an association of 250 Indian school principals in the Gulf, said he welcomes the system which discourages students and parents from opting for school-based examinations instead of board examinations. “Moreover, teachers could not fulfill the CBSE expectation for continued evaluation of students as they had to handle about 200 students a day from 7.30 am to 1.30pm. Many teachers could not fully evaluate all the 200 students,” said Jacob.

“The new examination system will encourage study habits among students and when they pass out from grade 12, they will be equipped to compete effectively in competitive examinations,” said Jacob.

Dr Ashok Kumar, CEO, Indian High School, Dubai, said the new system will make students more analytical. And teachers, of course, will be geared up for the new system. As the CBSE International scheme has been completely eliminated, a new school branch of the Indian High School in Silicon Oasis will be used for mainstream students, Kumar added.

Teachers will be teachers

Teachers in the UAE have welcomed the move saying they could not find enough time to teach after handling the administrative work. “The Continuous and Comprehensive Evaluation (CCE) system was intended to provide an overall development of students throughout the year. However, teachers were busy maintaining students records and conducting weekly and monthly tests. It was more administrative work than teaching because we had to keep all the records,” said Anju Krishna, former mathematics teacher of Indian International School, Ajman.

She said even average students and schools used to get good marks because the weaker students were pushed to opt for school-based CBSE I examinations. The teachers themselves acted as teachers, examiners and supervisors, which affected the quality of education,” Anju added. Teachers were also not given proper training to meet the CBSE expectations from the CCE system.

“It is a good move for the students, teachers and parents. The earlier system kept teachers busy with non-teaching work. Learning by heart is practised to learn small lessons taught for one term. But in the new system, students have to study the entire year’s syllabus for the final year board examinations,” said Dr Sreedevi Rajashekharan, biology teacher at the Arab Unity School, Dubai.

Shelton, parent of a Grade 2 student of the Millennium School in Al Qusais said: “The Millennium School was selected as one of the pilot schools for CBSE International curriculum. The decision to change the curriculum could be good but students who are currently in Grade 9 will face a tough time.

The changes

> CBSE-I curriculum has been discontinued

> There will be no formative and summative assessments

> All grade 10 students will have to appear for the board exam

> The full year’s portions will be included in the board exam

New system fair but a burden on students

(Ankita Chaturvedi)

The new exam pattern evoked mixed reaction from parents and teachers. While some parents feel the change will help students, there are parents who think this will burden them.

Venkatesh Nagarajan, a parent of Grade 5 student from Our Own Girls School, Sharjah, thinks that this is the right move to bring a focus in the education system.

He said: “I support and welcome the move by CBSE. A good student is reflected only if they are subjected to wholesome content. Current system does not test the overall knowledge. Option for school board exam helps only a teacher’s favourite student.

Being a parent as well as a teacher, Sunitha Balagopal, feels the previous pattern, where board exams were optional, was good. She added that the new system will leave kids burdened with the full syllabus.

Rafia Zafar Ali, principal of Leaders Private School, Sharjah, believes it will definitely bring uniformity in all Indian schools based on CBSE curricula outside India. “I welcome the move and it will also help in the selection of grade 11,” she said.

Veenu Kanwar, a mother of Grade 8 student at DPS Sharjah, feels both the assessment patterns have their merits and demerits. The new one will be more helpful in retaining the syllabus especially with subjects like math.

Vandana Sirani, a mother of grade 9 and 6 student from Our Own English High School, Al Warqa and Gems Millennium Sharjah, said she is more worried about her younger son as he is in the mid-junior level. “I am concerned about my younger son, how he will cope with the change.”

 

 

 

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