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CET syllabus: ICSE, CBSE students irked

Despite assurances from the state school education department that the reason for conducting a common entrance test (CET) for admission to first-year junior college (FYJC) is to bring parity among Class 10 students of various school education boards, those from non-state board schools echoed a different opinion
By Shreya Bhandary and Ankita Menon, Mumbai
PUBLISHED ON JUL 16, 2021 11:45 PM IST

Despite assurances from the state school education department that the reason for conducting a common entrance test (CET) for admission to first-year junior college (FYJC) is to bring parity among Class 10 students of various school education boards, those from non-state board schools echoed a different opinion.

On Friday afternoon as Secondary School Certificate (SSC) students were struggling to access results, those from ICSE and CBSE boards are still awaiting their results from their respective boards as some clarity over the CET exam. “How can the state call this parity, when the syllabus for the CET exam is based only on state board curriculum? ICSE syllabus for subjects like social sciences, maths and science is very different from what is taught in state board schools, so how are our children supposed to compete with state board students when they haven’t studied the same curriculum?” asked Sharmin Poonawala, mother of a class 10 student from ICSE board.

Last month, an ICSE student approached the Bombay high court questioning the state board’s decision to conduct a CET exam for class 11 admissions based on the state board syllabus only. In this petition, the student has stated that as per rules of the Council for the Indian School Certificate Examinations (CISCE), a class 10 student of the board can drop subjects like Maths and Science and instead choose from a variety of additional subjects like Technical Drawing, Commercial Studies among others. “ICSE students don’t even study the same subjects as SSC students, and even the same subjects like History and Geography cover the different syllabus. How can the state board expect non-SSC board students to study and ace the subject for their CET exam? This is clear discrimination,” said the mother of another ICSE student.

Recently, the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) directed affiliated schools to reassess and re-evaluate the marks given to class 10 students this year. Avnita Bir, director principal, Podar Education, said, “The results this year and the evaluation process are very unusual, most of us schools have been asked to re-evaluate class 10 assessment by the board. This could be one reason that the SSC results are much better this year, and efforts are being taken by CBSE to ensure that the outcome is not skewed in any way because there are many students who want to shift to the state board. We don’t want results to be another cause of concern for the students.”

Several CBSE and ICSE schools in the city believe that due to the uncertainty surrounding results and admissions to junior colleges, many students have already decided to continue their Class 11 and 12 education on the same board. “I doubt the high scores of SSC students or CET exam will impact students from non-SSC boards. Most of these students have already taken admission for Class 11 in their respective boards. Moreover,

CBSE evaluation includes the last three year’s performance which is fair enough and an overall good evaluation process. This will ensure that the students are assessed based on their overall performance,” said Jyoti Nair, Principal, New Horizon Scholars School, Thane.

Many parents said this ambiguity has left students more anxious, especially those waiting to bag a seat in Mumbai junior colleges. “My daughter dropped subjects like Maths and Science in class 9 and 10 in order to focus on subjects like economics so her overall class 10 score gets better and she finds a seat in the Arts stream at a college of her choice. By forcing such students to now suddenly either study maths and science or forgo their seat in the top colleges is unfair and biased,” said Anjana Purohit, mother of another ICSE student. “What’s worse is that ICSE and CBSE schools have already completed admissions to their class 11 batches, leaving students like my daughter feeling left in the lurch.”

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