New Delhi, Sep 1 (DHNS): In a significant decision that might ultimately lead to setting up a single examination authority for the entire country, the Central Advisory Board of Education (CABE) on Monday endorsed the necessity for a core curriculum in science and mathematics across all education boards.
While agreeing to a core curriculum in science subjects, several states, including Karnataka, opposed a centralised examination authority that would include the state boards.
The apex body, comprising state education ministers, eminent educationists, authors and artists, also endorsed the twin proposals for making Class X exam optional for CBSE students and introducing grading system in those schools from next year.
Human Resource Development (HRD) Minister Kapil Sibal said that after the CBSE Class X exam is made optional, the states may follow suit based on the central board’s experience. “There is a pan-India consensus on the issue. So we have decided to go ahead with this,” Sibal said.
The CABE approved the HRD ministry’s proposal for a core curriculum in science and mathematics at the secondary and higher secondary levels that seeks to provide a level playing field to students aspiring to join professional courses.
At the day-long meeting, Kapil Sibal termed “historic” the “rare unanimity” among the states on the need for educational reforms. The central body also approved the proposal for an autonomous, overarching authority for higher education with separate policy and regulatory functions.
On the recent controversy over selection of vice-chancellors for the 15 new central universities and a chairperson for the Central Board of Secondary Education, the CABE approved a self-selecting of eminent persons, to be set up within a year, to ensure greater objectivity and also assist search committees on important appointments.
“The collegium consisting of experts, Nobel laureates and international award winners would help shortlist candidates to head universities, academic and research bodies, besides the proposed National Commission for Higher Education,” Sibal said after the CABE conference.
However, the minister’s claim of “rare unanimity” fell apart when Sibal asked the states to increase their share of investment in implementing the provisions of the Right to Free and Compulsory Education Bill.
“In the next five years, we need Rs 1.5 lakh crore to implement the Bill. The Centre has provided for Rs 90,000 crore and the states will have to make provision for the balance Rs 60,000 crore,” Sibal said.
“I am constrained to point out that since 1999-2000, while the Centre’s expenditure on education as a percentage of GDP has gone up from 0.65 per cent to over 0.90 per cent, the expenditure by the states has declined from about 3.78 per cent to about 2.75 per cent of the GDP,” he said.
The states, on their part, demanded that the Centre’s contribution should be increased and the ratio of sharing the financial burden should not exceed 75:25. Sibal also said that the government would set up Education Tribunals to look into malpractices as well as grievances of students.