Fresh school graduates will now for the first time help craft the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) curriculum for classes XI and XII.
India’s largest school board is handpicking toppers in this year’s class XII Board examinations to evaluate the syllabus used by students in their final two years of school across all subjects and streams. Students entering class XI in 2014 will be the first users of this curriculum.
“The idea is to get student feedback on what they and their classmates find relevant and what they find difficult,” a senior CBSE official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to talk to the press.
With over 12,300 schools affiliated across India and in a few countries abroad, the CBSE is the country’s largest school board.
The move to include students in determining course content for classes XI and XII is the latest among initiatives taken by the board over the past three years to reform a schooling system that educationists have warned could fall dramatically behind globally successful practices.
The students selected by the CBSE will sit with representatives of Kendriya Vidyalayas, other government schools, private schools and the National Council for Educational Research and Training (NCERT) on subject specific committees.
Though the other members of these committees are teachers and subject experts, the CBSE concluded that it needed to also hear directly from those studying the curriculum decided on by the panels.
The CBSE appoints such committees to review the syllabi for all subjects every three years. But till now, it has never included students as members.
The panels have the authority to decide whether to include new material to the subject syllabus and to remove segments that are obsolete. South Sudan, formed after the curriculum was last revised, will find its way into the new Geography syllabus.
But the students will also play another key role – in helping their committees decide whether NCERT textbooks for a specific subject are outdated and need supplementary content till they are revised and published again.
This supplementary material will then be placed online by the CBSE for students and schools to access.
The CBSE is looking at a complex set of parameters to decide on the student representatives on the subject curriculum committees.
Subject toppers who also performed well in their class XII board examinations, are accessible and can regularly attend committee meetings in Delhi, are the ones most in demand.