All boards may follow one curriculum

  • Puja Pednekar, Hindustan Times, Mumbai

All national and state boards in the country are likely to share a common core curriculum, exam schedule and question paper pattern.

The ministry of human resource development (HRD), along with the Council of Boards of Secondary Education (COBSE), has formed committees to ensure uniformity among various boards aiming at creating a level-playing field for students across the country.

Four committees consisting of members from various state and national boards and experts from National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) have been assigned one topic each — core syllabus, question paper design, teacher training and fighting malpractices in exams.

The committees were constituted during the 44th COBSE annual council held in Pune between November 5 and 7. They will submit a detailed report with their recommendations to the MHRD by December 31.

The need to bring in some kind of uniformity among the different boards operating in the country as a new Joint Entrance Examination (JEE) pattern was introduced last year, in which 40% weight was given to the marks in the boards and 60% to the main JEE score. The JEE is conducted for admissions to engineering institutes including the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) in the country.

“Since every board has a different exam pattern, it was causing discrepancies in marks. This has made us realise the importance of bringing in uniformity among the boards,” said YSK Seshu Kumar, in-charge chairman of the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) and a joint-secretary in the ministry. “Every board wants their students to do well in competitive exams, so we need to create a level-playing field,” he said.

A common question paper patter and a common core curriculum for all boards might help in creating parity across boards, added Kumar.

The common curriculum could comprise of 70% common syllabus and 30% regional variations. While, common question paper pattern will give equal weight to various components in exams to avoid inflation of marks in particular boards.

“A common core syllabus can be worked out for English, maths, physics, chemistry and other subjects,” said Puran Chand, general secretary of the COBSE. “We are also thinking of having common subject codes for at least the main subjects, to avoid confusion among students.”

Similarly, the boards are also discussing whether they can come up with a common exam schedule or declare the results around the same time so that students will be able to appear for competitive exams on time.