As the world develops, technology changes, political systems undergo continuous reforms, we humans adapt, new trends come in, and education develops as well. Education changes respectively and introduces various changes in its curriculum just for the purpose of satisfying the needs of the children of today’s world. The curriculums mold themselves in accordance to the students’ comfort, their level of understanding, and their level of intelligence to fulfill their needs, keeping them involved and enthusiastic in their studies so that they don’t deviate from their studies.
Let’s take a couple of examples of curriculums such as CBSE/CCE curriculum (The Central Board of Secondary Education), where the CCE stands for Continuous and Comprehensive Evaluation(they sure did keep this motto strong). In my opinion, the CBSE curriculum has been the same since it was introduced with a few changes, here and there, just to portray an image to the public. Under this curriculum, students have literally become slaves to their books where they have endless studies, vast portions that cover the same topics every year, exorbitant amounts of projects and  weekly/daily tests. This may just seem like the competitive curriculum of India but it has its consequences too.

Just go on google and type in two words ‘CBSE’ and ‘suicide’; over 250,000 results will appear with articles such as: ‘Indian student found dead on CBSE exam day’ “Girl commits suicide fearing bad CBSE results’ ‘Student found dead after failing CBSE exam’ ‘Student commits suicide over CBSE pressure’. Every year, right after cbse exam results, the newspaper is flooded with suicide cases. CBSE is a leading cause of suicide in India among the youth, which is sad because education is supposed to enhance your life, not cut it short. What’s even worse is the fact that after noticing all these cases and over millions of complaints against CBSE, the board still decided not to change its curriculum, because the board knows that the students are compelled to study the leading curriculum in India; it doesn’t really matter to them. This leads to students failing every term/year, discouragement and demotivation among students. Even the grading system is as messed up as the curriculum, where the student ‘fails’, ‘passes’ or gives a distinguished performance. This system has no broader concept of subjects and all-round performance of the students. What matters is mugging up the text books, worshiping them like Gods and passing the exam, which only limits the student to do subjective studying. His or her  knowledge is bound by the textbook, and nowhere beyond that.

So the CBSE board introduced a supposedly ‘new curriculum’ as a part of CCE knows as CBSE-i where the ‘i’ stands for International. Trying to make an effort to make its curriculum more international, they’ve decided to introduce this all of a sudden without any knowledge of teachers or parents or students. Well that was alright as long as they were changing the curriculum we all were gladly accepting this. However, this too turned out to be quite useless because there were no textbooks and teachers themselves didn’t know what was going on in class as they weren’t professionally trained for this. And  the manuals that were provided by the board where we were supposed to study from turned out to be copy pasted material from various sources which compelled us to write general answers of our own which may or may not be accurate.

From the perspective of a CBSE student these are my points on how CBSE can improve:-
• Transform the current grading/marking system into something more flexible
• Break down the syllabus to only the important portions while cutting out the extra syllabus for finals
• Complete text book based study must be cut down and application and general based study of portions must be approached by teachers
• Allow students to express their own views in their answers rather than it being completely a ‘cut & paste’ of the text book.
• Teachers must be given special training and development before being employed by the school in order for effective teaching.
• Obtaining low than required marks, poor performance must not be made a big issue out of but rather, gentle support must be given by the teachers towards such students or these students will be disregarded forever and no improvement will be seen in them.

While CBSE promises to make us better citizens in the future, by purporting to provide the highest quality of education imaginable, there are clear shortcomings to its approach. For one, there is too much emphasis on competition rather than learning as an activity; a motive that I believe will only exemplify CBSE’s status as the curriculum with the most number of suicide cases tagged with it. What saddens me the most is that the ‘cream of the top’, or the very students who are comfortable with the ossified system of CBSE are given undue respect, whereas those students who aren’t capable of learning in the same manner, are treated as uncouth barbarians. I’m not denying these hard working students (with terabytes worth of memory) deserve the adulation they receive; far from it. Rather, a student who cannot cope up with this system cannot do so because he or she requires a different means of learning. The all too romanticized textual form of learning, the one CBSE takes full (and only) advantage of, isn’t the one that meets needs of the present urbanized society. You can throw all those tantrums of limited funds and overpopulation being causes for the low standards of CBSE. But are they the true reasons for an Indian teacher to cross out an answer because it does not conform to the answer present in the outdated textbook? Are they the true reasons for an Indian teacher beating a child for being creative? Are they the true reasons for an Indian teacher to berate an 8 year old for writing ‘yours truly’ instead of ‘yours faithfully’ at the end of a letter? We can do better than that, can’t we?

(Photo credit: http://cdn2.wn.com/ph/img/fe/63/f17d728f6a072ca1a5fbf5a4a615-grande.jpg)

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