Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) has 18,000 schools which are affiliated to it. Among them, most are private ones. CBSE earlier asked schools to focus on education and avoid commercial activities and now it’s ready to grade this schools. A plan to authorise and grade schools in the year 2013-14 never took off but now, CBSE, which functions under the human resource development ministry, is all set to start grading schools affiliated with it.
“We will accredit schools. The focus will be more on quality outcome rather than infrastructure,” CBSE chairman R.K. Chaturvedi said. A government official further added that grading schools would help parents and students to decide the best possible option for their kids. The need for grading schools is a must. This is because some of its affiliated schools are using unfair means to promote themselves without focusing on their main functions of providing quality education.
The board has also mentioned that some schools are focusing on infrastructure, without giving attention to the aspects such as teaching or learning environment. In April 2017, the board has asked all the private schools affiliated to it to stop commercial activities and follow the education system and daily functioning.
On 20 April, it asked the schools to run as service centres and not for the purpose of businesses and ensure that commercialisation does not take place in the school in any shape whatsoever”. Even schools were warned to not indulge in commercial activities like selling books, uniforms, etc within the school premise. “The Union government wants better outcome from schools and several of its initiatives are directed towards that. The plans to rank states on education parameters by NITI Aayog, this accreditation plan, are all part of the bigger plan,” the official mentioned above added
On Tuesday, Union human resource development minister Prakash Javadekar also told reporters that his ministry is now focusing on quality education and has embarked on a mission “sabko shiksha, achhi shiksha”. He even said his ministry would allow more autonomy to high-quality institutions. The ministry has an accreditation and grading process for institutions of higher education in India but none of the schools.
The accreditation process for higher education suffers from the lack of transparency, but the government official said that CBSE has the credibility and the track-record of grade schools.“The ministry is streamlining the higher education accreditation process to improve quality. The CBSE coming forward to does grading (of schools) will mean a better outcome across the entire education spectrum,” the official quoted above added.
Prashant Bhalla, president of Manav Rachna Educational Institutions, an education group that runs a chain of schools and colleges in north India agreed on the need for accrediting schools. “The move will act as a check on unfair promises made by some schools. But the bigger question is, globally, the accreditation process is handled by autonomous bodies without any partiality. The ministry or the CBSE will have to address this issue,” he said.
“Accreditation should be for a certain period of time and the organization should give an improvement plan to a school. I feel, personally, accreditation and grading should be motivational than a punitive exercise,” Bhalla added.