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Principal’s advice

Heads across Delhi’s top schools talk to Rahat Bano about the changes ushered in by CCE

education Updated: May 26, 2010 09:30 IST
Hindustan Times

Ameeta Mulla Wattal Principal, Springdales School, Pusa Road

The revolution has begun
Continuous and comprehensive evaluation has been, from the very onset of being put into place by the CBSE (session 2009-2010), looked upon by a large group of educators, some policy makers, parent and student communities as being detrimental to learning, taking away from classroom teaching the essence of objective assessment, catering to what the ‘gifted’ and ‘talented’ call mediocre minds.

If the focus of the National Curriculum Framework of our country has been one of ‘nurturing an overriding identity’, we need to create opportunities for children to make connections of what they learn in the school system to the real world that lies outside. We need to remember that children from different social and economic backgrounds are able to learn and achieve success in school by learning experientially through their mistakes and by competing with their own skills and attitudes; something that can be assessed not necessarily through a pen and paper test (summative assessment; time and place centric) but through formative assessments that entail a series of classroom applications and tools that can vary from quizzes, project work, group discussions, participatory activities of students creating their portfolios and self-assessment folders, thereby giving themselves a realistic understanding of what they want for and from themselves.

The child who inhabits a CCE space will certainly have to be present not only physically but also mentally, become more regular in terms of work, develop the faculties of listening, become more creative, learn to learn methods of data application, write project reports, analyse, think laterally, keep his/her mind moving creatively not mechanically, as a young mind is prone to do in the old examination pattern.

In the framework of 21st century classrooms, students will become aware, communicative and more skill- and application-oriented …

It’s started. Is everyone listening?

Abha Sahgal Principal, Sanskriti School, New Delhi

We’ll be the change-makers, how lucky we are!

These are exciting times for educators and school administrators. Those of us who are in this role should consider ourselves lucky as we will be the change makers! The new perspective of how to assess the learners can have reaction ranging from scepticism and non-acceptance to enthusiasm for something new and challenging.

There is no questioning the fact that the Indian education system followed till recently, has produced students who have been acknowledged the world over as diligent and sincere in whatever they undertake. But it is also true that our young ones have made great executers of programmes and projects, but have not been the inventors and leaders of the same. It has to be recognised that now with the emphasis on different aspects of learning we will give that added skill to our students who will now undoubtedly make a greater impression on the world.

CCE must be planned by schools without losing sight of its objective. What the programme aims at is not evaluation per say, but to create the skills which our students will need in the coming era. The entire programme will be futile if CCE ends up simply as examination with grades instead of marks! The administrators must work on the mindset of the teachers which makes them refer to the dreaded word assessment, every time they want to motivate their students. It is this which has made CCE ironically more stressful than the earlier system. Finally, we have got a system in which the influence of a teacher is not solely judged by the results he/she gets, but also by what he/she has been able to do with the complete personality of the student.

Enough planning has to go into the interaction that a teacher has with her students. Now teaching is not just about planning your lessons. Project works from being vague and without a clear learning objective will have well defined rubrics which will tell the students exactly what is expected of them.

What is important is to not use CCE as a weapon to make children BEHAVE. This is NOT to be used as a disciplining aid. The moment we do that we have turned the system into a dreaded demon, out to get the students! As teachers, let us never forget that the value of discipline never comes from force; we have to continuously work at it. Let us not take an easy way out and in the process destroy a system which was never meant to be this.

Madhulika Sen

, Principal, Tagore International School, Vasant Vihar

CCE leads to complete coherent education
Education in India has come full circle with the CCE. Continuous and Comprehensive Evaluation automatically and naturally leads to Complete Coherent Education. In other words, education as it is meant to be.

CCE ensures removal of stress associated with Board examination which more often than not, was too much to handle for the 15-year-olds making them resort to desperate measures. Now, the learning progress is identified and evaluated at short intervals on small portions of content. It involves students in the learning process through activities and projects, which are graded besides the pen and paper test, making them critical and analytical. The system discourages rote learning and fosters in students creativity and innovation, making them into problem-solvers which is the need of the knowledge society of the 21st century. There is positive acknowledgement of emotional quotient, attitudes and values of the student by giving it a respectable place in the report book in terms of grades, same as those for scholastic areas.

Just like the old ‘gurukul’ days, latent talent is not only recognised but also nurtured and honed. Once again, students are encouraged to be the fine humans they were meant to be by inculcating empathy for the less fortunate through social service, which is once again recognised as a measurable asset in a student. Even the shy and introvert gain attention, as all students are graded keeping multiple intelligence parameters in mind. The students, therefore, must share with their teachers, what they are good at and the level of their proficiency, so that it can be recognised and converted into grades.

So once again, it is the student who is the focus of attention and not the syllabus or the chase to complete it by November so that the poor student can be bombarded with a series of exams to prepare for that dreaded board. CCE has certainly taken into account the larger context of holistic learning, the level required to make the students of our country stand tall among those from around the world.

Manleen Ahluwalia Principal, The Indian School

A positive, historic change
CCE, dear students, stands for creativity, confidence-building, character-building, completeness, communication, compassion and much more.

No more do you have to learn by heart your staples of knowledge, and regurgitate it onto your answer scripts, at the term end exams. No more do you have to be heavily stressed, physically and emotionally, in preparation for the Board exams. You don’t have to be pulled in all directions by parents, teachers, peer pressure or bear the stigma of not performing well.

CCE, through the kind, thoughtful and innovative auspices of the Ministry of Human Resource Development and the CBSE, has created a vortex of activity, for future Class IX and X students of CBSE schools in India.

Now, you are given many chances of improvement in an evaluation for a subject, at the formative stage. This is done by allowing a number of activities, individual or team-based, before selecting the one in which the child has done the best - to be evaluated for a grade.

This encourages a child to put in more effort and use creativity as a tool for achieving desired ends. It also enhances his confidence levels and if it is an activity which comprises a presentation by the child, it also bolsters his communication skills.

A child now has to apply himself to an activity in its research end, followed by a presentation and thus achieve applause in his grades.

CCE is the most positive, historic, dynamic change that has ever been introduced into the annals of education in India. It is child-oriented, child-friendly and child-focused.

You dear children, have to keep in mind that you are the target – you have to get the full measure of this very novel idea of evaluation. For, not only is it fun-based learning but it also promises life-long utility as what we learn by doing is everlasting.

At the end of the year, you have one more chance of ‘final’ improvement, when, if your scores are less than required to ‘pass’ the grade, then CBSE gives you one grace - an improvement assessment.

Now, isn’t that ever so encouraging? So, long live the new educational reform.

First Published: May 25, 2010 12:24 IST