Over 18,000 schools affiliated to the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) will have to implement the three-language formula up to Class X, the Board’s Governing Body resolved on Tuesday. Currently, schools are meant to follow this up to Class VIII.
CBSE’s highest decision-making body, which met for close to four hours, also decided to make Board examination compulsory for Class X students from 2018 and introduce an eligibility test for principals of all its schools. All three decisions need the final stamp of approval from the HRD Ministry, said sources. CBSE chairman R K Chaturvedi was unreachable for comment.
Under the National Education Policy, the three-language formula means students in Hindi-speaking states should learn a modern Indian language, apart from Hindi and English and, in non-Hindi-speaking states, they should learn Hindi along with the regional language and English.
However, a majority of the 18,000 affiliated institutions offer the mother tongue or Hindi, English and a foreign language such as German and Mandarin up to Class VIII. According to Governing Body (GB) members, who spoke to The Indian Express on the condition of anonymity, all schools will not only have to implement the three-language formula in letter and spirit, but also extend it up to Class X. A directive, with finer details and timing of implementation, will be issued to schools as soon as the move is ratified by the government.
The decision comes almost two years after the HRD Ministry, under Smriti Irani’s leadership, forced Kendriya Vidyalayas (KVs) to discontinue teaching of German as a third language in Classes VI to VIII on the ground that it violates the three-language formula. KVs were directed to replace it with Sanskrit or any modern Indian language. German is still taught, but as a hobby/additional language.
“The National Education Policy and NCERT’s National Curriculum Framework clearly suggest that the three-language formula should be implemented in secondary education and, hence, the decision is in line with that. Private schools currently offering foreign languages will have to treat it as a fourth language, but the three-language formula has to be followed strictly,” said a GB member, when asked about the rationale behind the move.
The decision to make Class X Board exams mandatory again has been taken five years after former HRD Minister Kapil Sibal had nudged CBSE into making it optional. Sources said CBSE has decided that all schools will conduct two tests and a half-yearly exam in Class X.
The final examination will be conducted by the Board. The Board exam will carry 80 per cent weight and a student’s performance in school tests will account for 20 per cent. “The student will have to secure pass marks in both school and board exams separately to get promoted to Class XII,” said another GB member.
It’s not clear at this moment if the third language, which will introduced in Class IX and X as a consequence of Tuesday’s decision, will be tested in the Board exam.
Class X Board exams were made optional in 2011 after educationists objected to the stress associated with it. This was replaced with Continuous Comprehensive Evaluation or CCE. Students, however, could opt for board exams if they wanted.
About 20 per cent of the students chose the Board exam in 2011 and 2012. This figure increased gradually after it was made clear that students who wanted to change their school Board after Class X would have to take exams. In 2016, more than 40 per cent students opted for the Board exams.
“The UPA government had expected that other state education boards will follow CBSE’s example, but that didn’t happen. Over the last few months, CBSE and HRD Ministry have met teachers and principals from across the country to get their feedback on Boards and CCE.
The overwhelming support was for the return of exams,” said a member. A meeting of about 300 school principals was held in Mata Sundari College last week to discuss the change and seek feedback.
CBSE’s governing body also resolved that principals of all CBSE schools will have to pass an eligiblity test. “We’ve noticed that wives and relatives of the schools owner/owners end up becoming principals. That’s not the ideal qualification to head a school. So CBSE will design a test on the lines of the Central Teacher Eligibility Test for principals too which they have to pass,” said a GB member.