Over 2k children begin classes at schools of specialised excellence in Delhi

SoSEs offer specialised education to students of classes 9 to 12 in four domains — science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM); humanities; performing and visual arts; and “high-end 21st-century skills”
Deputy chief minister of Delhi Manish Sisodia during the induction ceremony of School of Specialised Excellence at Kalkaji in New Delhi on Monday. He interacted with parents, students, industry experts, and teachers, and said that SoSEs will focus on the development of “out-of-the-box thinking” . (HT Photo)
Deputy chief minister of Delhi Manish Sisodia during the induction ceremony of School of Specialised Excellence at Kalkaji in New Delhi on Monday. He interacted with parents, students, industry experts, and teachers, and said that SoSEs will focus on the development of “out-of-the-box thinking” . (HT Photo)
Updated on Sep 28, 2021 03:20 AM IST
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BySadia Akhtar and Kainat Sarfaraz

Over 2,000 children, who secured admission into the 20 new Schools of Specialised Excellence (SoSEs) and are among the first batch of students studying under the Delhi Board of School Education (DBSE) with an International Baccalaureate (IB) curriculum, began school on Monday.

At an induction ceremony for these students, deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia interacted with parents, students, industry experts, and teachers, and said that SoSEs will focus on the development of “out-of-the-box thinking” to prepare students to face the challenges of the future.

“Marks shouldn’t be the only criteria for a student’s success. In this uncertain world, a student’s ability to think creatively is what will set him/her apart from others. Covid has shown us that the future is going to be very uncertain. Hence, our students should be prepared to solve challenges which haven’t even arisen yet. They should be ready for the kind of jobs which haven’t been created yet,” said Sisodia, who also holds the education portfolio.

SoSEs offer specialised education to students of classes 9 to 12 in four domains — science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM); humanities; performing and visual arts; and “high-end 21st-century skills”. The schools are affiliated with the newly formed DBSE which has tied up with IB.

The international education board, which has over 190 schools in India, has four dedicated programmes for students aged 3-19 that can be adopted by any school upon gaining authorisation from the board. While the IB board will provide the curriculum framework for the SoSEs, the content will be provided by the education department.

School heads said they are waiting clarity on the nature of assessment, academic cycle, and books used for various disciplines.

The 20 SoSEs received 26,687 applications in their first admission cycle, out of which 14,245 took the special aptitude test and 2,794 students were selected for the first batch.

Sahil Kumar (16), a Class 11 student at SoSE Kalkaji, said that he was looking forward to an educational approach that would prioritise the practical application of skills over rote learning. “We will be familiarised with the IB curriculum as well as lessons that will help us in cracking competitive exams such as NEET and JEE. We have been told that we will be trained by knowledge partners. People usually end up going to Kota for such coaching, but we will be provided with these skills and lessons by the school itself at no extra cost,” said Kumar, who aims to crack the IIT entrance test.

Mohammad Adil (16), another Class 11 student, was told by teachers that the school “will encourage critical thinking”. “An analytical approach will help us at every level and unlike other schools, the focus will not be on securing good marks in Board exams alone. I think we will be better prepared as far as competitive exams are concerned,” he said.

M Shariq, principal of SoSE Kalkaji, that offers the STEM discipline, said that the school will hold orientations for students in the next few days to familiarise them with the curriculum and teaching methodology. “Our mission is to ensure that students are able to secure ranks in the top 1,000 of various competitive exams. They will get the best of both IB and DBSE at our school. Additional support through knowledge partners will also be provided to students,” said Shariq.

Vandana Jha, an Entrepreneurship Mindset Curriculum (EMC) teacher at the school, said that training sessions for teachers were being conducted to familiarise them with the new approach to teaching and assessment.

She said that teachers had been holding sessions with parents as well to answer their questions regarding the course. “This is a new beginning, and the first few days will be used to engage with students and understand their expectations and concerns. While two modules on languages and environment will be based on the IB curriculum, Physics, Chemistry and Maths will be taught in a manner that suits competitive entrances such as IIT and NEET,” said Jha.

Preeti Tanwar, who will teach Chemistry to Class 11 and 12 students at SoSE Hari Nagar, said, “The teacher training which began in August focused on how to inculcate information and communication technology tools and engage students in enquiry-based learning... Since there are no rigid learning structures, it allows teachers to engage in such methods more freely.”

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