State Plan For English-Medium School Board

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Kolkata: The school education department is examining a proposal to set up an exclusive board to affiliate English-medium schools in Bengal that are currently affiliated to other boards. The proposed board will be an addition to other boards such as CISCE and CBSE, among others, that affiliate most of the English-medium schools in the state.

“There are some schools under the CISCE in Bengal that do not abide by the state government’s education policy. Instead, they are keen on following the Centre. The government has no problem if these schools fall in line. But if they continue to ignore the state government, we have to think of setting up a separate board through appropriate legislation,” said education minister Partha Chatterjee at Nabanna on Friday. The problem is not with English-medium schools under the West Bengal Board of Secondary Education. Setting up another board will throw open the scope for schools from other boards to switch affiliation if they aren’t happy with the existing arrangement.

The idea evolves out of an earlier representation of nine minority school principals who called on Chatterjee in the state Assembly and expressed their angst over the CISCE diktat to introduce compulsory examinations in classes V and VIII. They felt that the diktat to follow a uniform curriculum since pre-school will take away the flexibility institutions now have to frame their curriculum. Sensing the problem, CISCE secretary and CEO Gerry Arathoon reached out to principals on Monday. He clarified that the assessments in classes V and VIII is only a proposal and the Council has no immediate plans to implement them.

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Schools under other boards are in two minds. Though some are unhappy with the CISCE’s prescriptions over a uniform curriculum, examinations and fees, most prefer to tread with caution before dumping CISCE to join the new board. Few saw in Chatterjee’s announcement, a bid to pressurize the other boards and make them follow the state guidelines on school education. “We need to see how much autonomy the new affiliating body has to offer to us before we make a decision,” said the principal of a prominent CISCE-affiliated city school.