How do foreign boards granting affiliations to Indian schools justify their presence in India? Some board representatives say their existence is legal as the certificates they award to students from affiliated schools are accepted for jobs or for equivalence. They are also aware of the fact that state government recognition and no-objection certificate (NOC) is mandatory for opening a school but affiliation to any education board is not required for getting government’s NOC.
“Schools have to submit documentary confirmation of their legal status and confirmation from the local/provincial/state authorities that the school is recognised as an educational institution when they apply for authorisation for becoming an IB school,” says Priyamvada Taneja, development and recognition manager, India International Baccalaureate (IB) Organisation (Singapore Branch).
Taneja could not produce any document showing any school getting government permission for IB affiliation. Ruchira Ghosh, regional director, South Asia, Cambridge International Examination, says, “In India, our qualifications are recognised by Association of Indian Universities (AIU).”
AIU on its part says that its equivalence can’t be taken as permission to operate in India. Not only that, many experts question AIU’s decision to grant equivalence for foreign board certificates as these are not ‘foreign’ qualification in the true sense. “In 1995, MHRD issued a notification that foreign qualifications which are recognised/equated by AIU, are treated as recognised for jobs in the Central government. But these foreign boards are offering their programmes in India without any government permission. So how can these qualifications be treated as foreign qualifications? I think AIU is overstepping its mandate,” says a senior MHRD official.
While a lot of countries have education boards, United States of America follows a system of 12-year high school diploma awarded by schools which are accredited either by the state departments of education or six regional accrediting agencies. Out of these six agencies, the Northwest Association of Schools and Colleges has opened its regional office in India in collaboration with Seri India Private Limited. When asked to provide details of the collaboration, Seyduddin, chairman of Seri, didn’t respond to emails sent by this correspondent. To prove its legal status, Seri has claimed, like many others, that it has got AIU equivalence in India.
“When the Central Board of Secondary Education affiliates schools in other countries, it has to follow certain procedures. The schools have to take permission for CBSE affiliation from their respective local governments and their applications come through the Indian embassy of that country,” says a senior MHRD official.
A former employee of The British School, Delhi, remembers getting lists of students appearing in the final board exams to the MHRD’s U3 section for stamping by the section officer. That was in the 90s to keep a tab on schools affiliated to foreign boards. It’s not done now .