The state school education department has invited applications from schools to take part in a new programme aimed at making them meet international standards. It will be in partnership with University of Cambridge.
To qualify among the 100 schools that will run the pilot programme from the upcoming academic year, 2017-18, the department asked them to answer an online survey by December 9.
The programme will be known as Secondary School Certificate International (SSC-I), conceptualised along the lines of CBSE-I started by the Centre four years ago.
The survey lists the criteria that the schools will have to fulfil in order to be selected to offer the programme. Support of the school management committees (SMCs) — which consists of parents and teachers as members — and the school’s willingness to embrace an international curriculum are among the mandatory requirements.
Another criterion states that schools need to have at least two divisions in each standard and a total of 500 students on their rolls — minimum 300 students in Classes 1 to 5 and at least 210 students in Classes 6 to 8. If schools are unable to meet this requirement, then they can admit students within one to three kilometers of their neighbourhood with the permission of the local authorities.
Schools will also have to attach proof of innovative measures and additional efforts taken by them to improve their quality of teaching. This includes new initiatives taken by the school principal in the last three years among others.
Several schools said that they are interested in opting for the programme. “It’s a good decision as international standards will help us in developing 21st century skills among the students,” said Uday Nare, teacher from Hansraj Morarji Public School, Andheri.
Such initiatives are part of the Maharashtra government’s objective to become one of the 20 best states in the world regarding school education, said Nand Kumar, principal secretary of the department. “Maharashtra will participate in Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) in the coming years and our students shouldn’t score below 60% in these assessments,” said Kumar. Two states from the country, Himachal Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, had participated in PISA in 2009 but they ended up at the bottom of the list.