Students of schools that teach the Maharashtra education board curriculum are lagging behind their Indian Certificate of Secondary Education (ICSE) and Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) peers, states the findings of the latest National Achievement Survey.
These findings have stirred a debate among academicians who feel that Maharashtra is not equipped to take part in the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) in 2018.
In the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) survey conducted last year, Maharashtra board students scored 246 out of 400 in sciences, whereas ICSE students scored the highest with 342 and CBSE scored 298. With 276 and 260, Kerala and Karnataka state education board students scored higher their counterparts in Maharashtra.
The findings show that Maharashtra is still not ready for an international assessment such as PISA, said educators, adding that the state government must bring its students at par with the national boards before participating in such programmes.
Secretary of state, Nanda Kumar, agreed that the board syllabus has to be revamped. “Over the next three years, we will start introducing these reforms in our education system. Our focus will be to ensure that state board students also score above 300 out of 400 in the next national achievement survey,” said Kumar.
Academicians attributed students’ poor performance to the lack of application-oriented learning in the state board curriculum.
“The Maharashtra board needs to start teaching students to tackle problems before signing up for PISA. India’s poor performance in PISA in 2009 showed the CBSE the importance of teaching these skills to students,” said Avnita Bir, principal, RN Podar School, Santacruz.
Sonu Arora, principal, Gundecha Education Academy, Kandivli, said, “The ICSE board encourages children to think. They get marks for giving their views instead of merely reproducing lines from textbooks,”
However, Kumar said that PISA requires a sample of 5,000 students from every country. “If Maharashtra participates from India, then the state government will have to select students from across boards,” he said.