By: Surbhi Gupta
Among the people to meet Union Minister Smriti Irani in her first fortnight after assuming charge of the Human Resource Development Ministry was Vansh Saluja, an 18-year-old RTI activist. Saluja, who has just completed high school, discussed the future prospects of Continuous and Comprehensive Evaluation (CCE), a policy introduced for secondary school students by the UPA government.
Saluja had addressed a letter to the HRD minister last week mentioning why the policy was formulated, fallouts in this year’s class X results and how the schools are misusing it for their commercial advantage. He made the letter public on a social networking site.
The CCE policy was introduced in 2010 when Kapil Sibal was the HRD minister. It aimed at reducing stress levels by easing off academic pressure and evaluating the students on extra-curricular activities and life skills; thus ensuring a holistic assessment. Analysing the results of academic session 2013-14, Saluja said: “Students who have got the highest marks (CGPA 10) make up the largest chunk of 76,900, this is followed by CGPA 6.6. In contrast, only 8,971 Class XII students scored above 95 per cent this year.” He claimed the schools where manipulating the results as they were doing the evaluation in house.
“The exorbitantly high number of CGPAs is symptomatic to the lenient marking schemes and every school’s effort to get the most number of students with a 10 CGPA. The more the students with ‘highest marks’, the more the schools can advertise and market themselves,” he said in the letter to the minister.
Vansh, who passed out of Amity International School in Saket, said the schools were glorifying the results to market themselves. “There must be adequate checks and balances within the system and schools should not be give a free-hand in allocating marks,” he said. Vansh has demanded a review committee including representatives of all stakeholders.
“ Overall, the meeting was fruitful. I welcome the announcement of a new education policy by the HRD Ministry and appreciate that all stakeholders will be consulted,” he told The Indian Express after the meeting at Irani’s Lodhi Estate residence. Saluja claimed the minister had promised to end the CCE policy and introduce a new system within three months.
After getting the invite to meet Irani, Saluja had opened a Facebook page inviting suggestions on the points to be added in the memorandum. Facebook users had welcomed the minister’s move to invite a student activist for a meeting on policy improvement. Saluja said the ministry had promised to invite suggestions from the public on the way forward.
Vansh Saluja is an active Aam Aadmi Party member and student activist specifically concerned about education policies and heritage conservation. As an RTI activist he was instrumental in getting Sultan Garhi listed as an ASI site and also the issue of metal detectors across Delhi that were not working. He plans to pursue law.
(Surbhi Gupta is an intern with the indianexpress.com)