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CBSE reforms force tutorials to change content

Math tutor Sandeep Srivastava laughed out loud when asked whether the examination and classroom reforms implemented by the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) would reduce the influence of tutors and coaching classes.

delhi Updated: Aug 19, 2010 01:21 IST
Charu Sudan Kasturi

Math tutor Sandeep Srivastava laughed out loud when asked whether the examination and classroom reforms implemented by the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) would reduce the influence of tutors and coaching classes.

"Do you think students come to us because of the format of CBSE examinations? They come because everyone wants to be among top-rankers and get into the best colleges, and tuitions give them an edge. That hasn't changed," he said.

But the pile of sheets with math activities for class X students on his desk hinted at a more complex truth.

Replacing the class X Board examination with continuous and comprehensive evaluation — consisting of activities and a term-end question paper — may not sound the death knell for tutors grooming students to perform better. But the CBSE reforms have forced tuition classes and individual tutors to change the way they teach — and what they teach — to retain their relevance.

At Universal Tutorials, one of Mumbai's best known coaching classes, students today no longer only learn how to solve sums or answer detailed physics questions – they practice drama, elocution and answering quizzes as well.

"Introduction of CCE in class X is a big change and most students and parents are insecure about performance under this system. They need us," A.P.S. Gopinathan, academic incharge at Universal Tutorials said.

Repeated governments at the Centre have for the past two decades been trying to curb the influence of coaching classes – which directly results in students paying less attention to school classes.

But Gopinathan argued that several schools were themselves confused about the CCE, and had contacted Universal Tutorials for guidance in drafting activities for class X students.

"Coaching classes do not add pressure on students... Our CCE activities could in fact become role-models for schools to follow," Gopinathan said.

A senior executive at one of Delhi's best-known coaching classes, which trains students both for their school performance and for the IIT Joint Entrance examination confirmed that the CCE had forced them to change their approach.

For the past six months, the coaching centre — which requested anonymity — has tapped on its students, ex-students and even parents to create a bank of CCE activities conducted in different subjects across the capital's schools.

"...We are following the IIT-JEE model, where we track down the questions asked over recent years, figure out patters and train our students in those questions," the executive said.