‘Can only rich students in Maharashtra apply for professional courses?’
Mumbai city news: Peparing for NEET might have been little difficult for state board students, admits a Bhavan’s College professormumbai Updated: May 22, 2017 09:17 IST
Professor Ramesh Deshpande was a member of the committee that prepared the State Curriculum Framework, 2010. He spoke to HT about why not a single Mumbai student secured one of the top 100 All India ranks in the Joint entrance Examination (Main), the NEET exam and whether the government would consider rolling back national-level tests.
How does the state board curriculum for science subjects differ from the National Council for Education Research and Training’s (NCERT’s)?
When the state revised the curriculum of secondary classes in 2012 [under the State Curriculum Framework 2010], it became, more or less, on par with the NCERT curriculum. However, the question papers were designed to be easier, so that even students from rural areas could clear the board examinations.
If, as you say, the two curricula are similar, why did no Mumbai student secure one of the top 100 All India ranks in the Joint entrance Examination (Main)?
JEE (Main) exams are meant for a small proportion of students who aspire to join the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs). In Maharashtra, most of the engineering aspirants concentrate on the Maharashtra Common Entrance Test (MH-CET), the syllabus of which is aligned with state board curriculum.
What about the National Evaluation-cum-Entrance Test (NEET)? It is the only entrance test for medical aspirants.
Yes, preparing for NEET might have been little difficult for state board students.
How should state strike a balance between upgrading its syllabus to make it more conducive for medical and engineering aspirants, without making it tougher for other students?
This problem arose in the past decade since the national-level entrance examination was introduced. It makes sense for the states that don’t have a separate syllabus to admit students on the basis of these tests. But as long as the state curriculum [and examination pattern] is different, it should be allowed to conduct its own tests.
Do you think that the government will roll back national-level tests? Even the Directorate of Technical Education (DTE) announced that from next year, CET will be on par with national-level exams.
This is a matter that the minister of education should decide upon, not the DTE. The government should decide whether only rich students are eligible for professional courses. Students in rural areas, even talented ones, don’t have the opportunity [to prepare for entrance examinations]. Delhi wants to impose its system on every state and many CBSE people, who set papers, are unfamiliar with junior colleges.
Shouldn’t the state board update its pedagogy and bring it on par with CBSE schools?
Definitely, the pedagogy has to change. But, the board is not really concerned. There are no specific training programmes for teachers. Students are increasingly relying on coaching classes. Junior colleges have good facilities, but their students don’t attend classes.