Posted on October 30, 2018 | by Vinod Kakumanu
Over the last week, there has been a volley of questions from the school management of CBSE affiliated schools we helped establish as well as management of upcoming CBSE schools. It is critical to bring clarity about the affects of the change in CBSE bye laws, hence this article.
We have made familiar in our earlier articles that there is a considerable departure from the preceding bye-laws. We have also published a search-friendly version of new CBSE Bye Laws 2018. While there are provisions that are not entirely new, progressive steps are taken by CBSE are highly appreciated.
Schools affiliated to CBSE board are instructed to fall in line with the new bye-laws as disaffiliation is not as far-fetched as it used to be, Let us look at How does the new CBSE Bye-Laws effect affiliated schools?
The inferences we can draw from the amendments in the affiliation bye-laws is the renewed commitment of the CBSE to elevate the standard of school education and bring it at par with the schools in the developed countries or even the Indian schools which are running the international programs.
The digitization of the affiliation process ensures that the avoidable delays and lapses are done away with. The affiliation committee will have its independent agenda which is scrutinizing the academic standard, academic prospects of the pupils and teacher capacity. The ability of the teachers to educate a child will now be reflected by the pupils’ interest in studies and the assessment will ideally judge the merit of the child.
Posted on October 1, 2018 | by Vinod Kakumanu
In a recent development, the Central Board of Secondary Education has notified the affiliated schools to take measures against the proliferation of “Momo Challenge”—the most recent cyberbullying phenomenon. Parallels have been drawn between the Momo Challenge and Blue whale Challenge that predates it.
CBSE has taken cognizance and intervened issuing a directive to the schools to watch out for student indulgence in Momo Challenge that is accessible through the internet and messaging applications like WhatsApp and social media.
To contain the potential threat the CBSE board has directed the school authorities to look out for abrupt changes in behavioral pattern in students that might manifest as social withdrawal, propensity towards violence and secretiveness.
What is Momo Challenge?
Like its precedent, “blue whale challenge” which allegedly claimed lives of several adolescents and children, it presents the participants with challenges which are initially harmless and progressively become dangerous culminating in self-harm. The underlying characteristic of these cyber abusive games is psychological manipulation and “grooming”.
Reportedly, the user is initiated into the game by getting in touch with an unknown number and remain in touch through WhatsApp.
Essentially in the “game”, the administrator puts forth tasks to be completed by the user, the tasks or challenges which tend to become increasingly dangerous. Reportedly, the final challenge inspires suicide. The administrator gives the user tasks which include serious violent acts.
Children and adolescents with marginal self-esteem are more vulnerable to succumb to these cyberbullying tactics as it deceptively offers a chance of vindication of their abilities to face social taboo and potentially dangerous and life-threatening scenarios.
The opinion is divided regarding the extent and potential of the cyber phenomenon like Momo and blue whale challenge with both people acknowledging and dismissing it as a hoax or inflated threat. The Momo Challenge is believed to have its genesis in Japan whereas the blue whale challenge’s inception had been traced back to Russia.
While the Blue Whale Challenge, which was basically a social network phenomenon, used taunts and exploited the vulnerability of the responder, the Momo Challenge is reported to have a component of threat and blackmail in its cache of psychological manipulation. The commonality lies in the enticement by the administrators to self-harm by generating an emotional crisis that can give way to suicidal ideation.
The Momo challenge that has surfaced in 2018 is an international concern the reason being its conduit is world wide web, with several countries acknowledging and taking measures to mitigate the threat. In India, the menacing chapter of Momo Challenge has first been reported in August 2018.
CBSE has chosen not to dismiss the cyber virulence of the Momo Challenge which is reflected by the directive issued to the schools aiming alleviation of the threat. The Ministry of Information Technology and Electronics has appealed to major internet entities to obstruct the links leading to the Momo challenge game. Although no incident of self-harm has been reported hitherto which could directly be attributed to Momo Challenge it is believed that it is highly likely to put the impressionable in harm’s way and hence to be barred from gaining subscribers.
Measures taken to contain Momo Challenge cyberbullying
It is commendable that CBSE has taken the initiative through advisory authority. It reflects the accountability of the educational boards.
The Ministry of Information Technology and Electronics has underscored the fact that no casualty has been reported yet which can be attributed to the Momo Challenge and digital vigilance is consistent.
The parents have been advised to monitor the online activities of their children and use selective access restricting technology to prevent the exposure of children to inappropriate websites.
CBSE has, in the recent past, taken several measures that are directly connected to the physical and psychological well-being of the students. The directive to regularize sports, possible curtailment of the syllabus that is discerned as burdensome include the recent announcements that reinforce the board’s progressive perspective.
The teachers must be instructed and trained to identify the symptoms of deviance and abuse in students. Besides, schools are instructed to ensure that parents are sensitized and made aware of the utility of the devices that enable monitoring of the child’s online activities.
The internet is one of the defining entities of the 21st century. It cannot be denied that it is open to abuse of which Momo Challenge and blue whale challenge are typical examples. The steps taken by the cyber regulatory authorities have to be complemented by social institutions of which schools and families are keystones.
Posted on July 19, 2018 | by Vinod Kakumanu
In the course of establishing, managing and improving schools throughout the country, School Serv has dealt with all aspects of learning to make sure institutions achieve optimum learning outcomes. Selection of appropriate curriculum and its implementation has always been our top priority. Our research wing also keeps a tab on developments and studies the features of curriculums to enable school promoters choose the best according to their context.
With the advent of IB in India, school promoters who wanted to try different curriculums have found a way. In our role as curriculum implementation consultants, we have found out that before deciding on IB sometimes the groundwork of understanding and appreciating the course had not been done by school management, as a result, series of surprises were encountered. There are some very distinct features of IB curriculum which are important for school promoters to understand before opting IB as the curriculum of their school. In this article we have tried to provide a practical understanding of IB PYP curriculum as it remains the area wherefrom most of the queries arrive.
The primary year’s programme (PYP) of International Baccalaureate® is for children aged between 3 and 12. This implies that the inception of PYP happens in Kindergarten and it goes on till grade 5 making way for the Middle Year Programme (MYP).
The PYP programme is self-contained, which means that its significance will not get diminished even if it is not followed by the next level of IB i.e. MYP and DP. That actually applies to all these IB programmes and they are all independently pursued in many schools, yet, a continuum is recommended by IB and if a school could run successive programmes, it would make an ideal scenario.
It has to be said that IB PYP has a complex curriculum model which has several aspects constituting it. Once the staff adapts to it, IB PYP curriculum starts to show its rewards in the form of student engagement and parental satisfaction. Incorporated into ‘hexagonal model’, the IB PYP curriculum design and objectives are laid down for teachers to understand.
It is mentionable that like all other curriculums, the IB primary years that continue for 9 years of a student’s life will also cover subjects including Mathematics, Science, Language, Social Studies and Arts. The features that distinguish IB from other curriculums obtain from the fact that it is derived from a ‘framework’. The said framework is made up of overarching transdisciplinary themes including ‘who we are’, ‘where we are in place and time’, ‘how we express ourselves’, ‘how we organize ourselves’, ‘how the world works’ and ‘sharing the planet’. These themes underlay the content covered in the syllabus and make the pedagogical style international in perspective and transdisciplinary, meaning that while learning the concepts of a given subject or discipline the students also get introduced to concepts or themes which fall in the purview of other subjects.
Besides the themes, the curriculum is composed of three interlinked components including ‘written’, ‘taught’ and ‘assessed curriculum’. The components of the PYP curriculum confirm the commitment to increased involvement of the learner in the learning process. The significance of the components is as follows—
The synergy between these three components brings out and effective IB PYP curriculum consummate in every respect. Furthermore, IB has a ‘learner profile’ in place which enlists the values and qualities that the student is expected to develop while he courses his way through the curriculum. IB expects the learner profile to be consolidated in the personality of the student, The profile signifies the attributes of a cosmopolitan or internationally-minded person. In fact, the learner profile is the core of the IB PYP curriculum.
IB curriculum is informed by the constructivist philosophy of education. When children are believed to be ‘constructors’ of knowledge their interaction in the classroom increases, they are given time to meditate about their learning and how they are learning, physical mobility and furniture configuration of the classroom does not remain conventional but becomes markedly different.
The curriculum throughout the primary years will drive the students towards the development and achievement of five essential elements including –
The IB curriculum enforcement is aided by IBO through workshops and material for the trainee teachers. Our International School Consultants have successfully designed, implemented the IB PYP curriculum and trained the teachers to practice and sustain it.
Posted on July 13, 2018 | by Vinod Kakumanu
Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), in a bid to mainstream health and physical education in schools, has intervened elevating sports from a neglected extra-curricular activity level to a curricular standard. Health and Physical Education (HPE) – as the new subject is named – is to be made a daily period in all schools, for class IX to XII. It is clear that the policy is directed towards the adolescents and their lifestyle that is bringing about results contradictory to the purpose of overall development. Children, in the present state of affairs, are turning into “couch potatoes” and that moved the board to take the unprecedented step. Detailed guidelines and descriptive methodologies for putting HPE into effect in CBSE Schools has been made available by CBSE at Mainstreaming health and physical education manual.
As per the guidelines of this policy, students from the classes 9th to 12th would move out to the playground with the liberty to engage in the physical activity of their choice. The students will choose the activity and they will be graded in the same. The sports manual contains instructions to implement the new policy along with the list of sports and games that it recommends for the HPE period starting from the 2018-19 academic session.
The rationale behind the policy to strike a balance between physical and cognitive activities is obvious but the executive instruction to the CBSE schools reflects an immediacy. CBSE cites that it is a measure against the rising incidences of obesity in children. While there has never been a compulsory sports period in CBSE or, for that matter, any other board, it is now only a matter of time before other boards take steps to check the plummeting of the physical activity owing to the preoccupation of adolescents with media. Teachers are increasingly realizing that the restriction current routine puts on venturing outdoors and flexing muscles is turning pathological. It is mentionable here that India had the second highest number of obese children in the world after China in 2017.
The circular making the sports period mandatory is welcome because it is realized that the situation is alarming. By all accounts, CBSE has made a good start and its wisdom has been attested by none other than the sports icon of successive generations, Sachin Tendulkar, whose congratulatory letter to CBSE Chairman, Anita Karwal mentions obesity as a major concern for the health of children and underscores India’s dubious distinction as being no. 3 in terms of obesity.
There Is widely rising concern about the children’s health on which sedentary routine is taking its toll. Such lifestyle brings obesity in its wake, which is a physical and psychological liability for the adolescents.
There have been several studies that establish that adolescent obesity is correlated with early onset of metabolic diseases like Type-2 diabetes. Other diseases that are plausibly related to inactivity and resulting obesity in early life include heart diseases, respiratory disorders like asthma and sleep-apnea and heightened risk of other chronic diseases in later life.
The order will have several administrative implications for school management including the accommodation of the extra period, upscaling of sports and medical emergency facilities etc.
Essential elements of CBSE sports guidelines include following facets
CBSE direction to affiliated schools to reserve one period for “Health and Physical Education” in 2018-19 academic session is a major policy move. Though currently, it is applicable for classes IX to XII the board signifies that it prefers it to be extended to all the classes eventually.
Regardless of the scale, School Serv invariably offered equal importance to sports and academics in every school project. With this step of the national board, School Serv’s mission stands vindicated.
Posted on July 10, 2018 | by Vinod Kakumanu
It has been a common observation that when schools are built, the emphasis on the finer correlations between pedagogy and infrastructure is missed out. Typically, school promoters emphasize on the construction of a school building which is just in compliance with a given board of affiliation. The directions given by the education boards or councils are generic, primarily containing the directives about the size of the school land, the area of the labs, playground, number of facilities and the size of the classroom. Then, as a measure to preclude crowding, maximum strength a class is fixed.
Despite the competition between schools, the learning environment design does not find the place it deserves. Those who want to start a school and take school building as a brick and mortar construction with only quantitative not qualitative difference from any other sort of building, are not few. In the resulting scenario of sheer ignorance or compromise, ideas of ‘collaborative learning’, ‘interactive learning’ and campus experience turn into irrelevant terms with hardly any impact on teaching-learning practices of schools and boarding schools are no different from bunkers. We have seen that the school promoters often find it difficult to understand the emphasis that is placed on the master plan and architecture by the international education organizations.
Further, it is often seen that there is no dearth of those who think that educational technology can spruce up the classroom and make up for the shortcomings of the classroom architecture. Here again, a flaw in the understanding of learning space design is evident. Classroom technology mainly including computer-enabled learning, Interactive White Board etc. definitely form an important part of the learning space, but they are neither practical for every grade nor are they uniformly efficient for old and small children. School promoters and educators realize that it is not sufficient to come up with technology abled classrooms to facilitate best learning outcomes.
The guiding principle for the architects and master planners while planning and designing school infrastructure is to make central the student experience and learning outcomes.
The school architecture is becoming more and more crucial in bringing learning experiences to classrooms in-line with the evolving curricula. It is not just about the classrooms, there is an undeniable need to attend the external context and landscape design as well. With such trends coming to the fore, the focus is moving towards designs that facilitate holistic education experience.
Consummate school architecture and masterplan are the ones that place focus on both tangible and intangible components of the learning environment, they focus on connectivity between teacher and students and freedom of interaction among the students as much as temperature, light, and ventilation. In fact, connectivity between staff and students and freedom of interaction should be focused upon in the external contexts too. While these are the characteristics of an ideal school design, we have a long way to go before we could create a culture where a perfect school architectural design becomes a priority of the school promoters.
Edupreneurs and academicians agree that the learning environment must modernize both with respect to the curriculum and the infrastructure. It’s evident from several outstanding examples that the 21st century has thrown doors open for accelerated, inclusive and efficient teaching-learning but only for those with a modernized outlook. Master planners and designers have immense value to add with their craft and imagination.
The learning environment and the educational ecosystem should be child-centric rather than instructor-centric. This approach is essential to achieve the objectives of the 21st-century schools. Nevertheless, the majority of the classrooms still practice the same old transmissive style of teaching-learning making the student passive or withdrawn. The change in the design of the classroom would translate into the change in the attitude of students and learning outcomes, a number of researches have been conducted to determine decisively the correlation between modern classrooms and educational outcomes.
The researches have even suggested that dropout rates would reduce if the facilities of the government schools are thoughtfully constructed and maintained. Researchers are of opinion that the ideal learning environment of the higher classes can never be made by inserting monotonous rows of desks giving it a look of a factory.
Pedagogy is influenced by sociocultural and socioeconomic circumstances. It has been influenced by researches in the field of psychology especially child psychology, cognition, memory, and learning. In the 1990s, with the advent of theories like constructivism in the field of psychology and education there came a marked shift in the perspectives of the educators and learning space designers and they began to stress upon conversational, interactive, collaborative make-up of the instructional environment rather than the stereotypical top-down broadcast model of learning. The theories that evolved from these progressive views had their impact on learning modalities like curriculums and learning environment. The effect of the surroundings on the receptiveness of the student is apparent across grades.
We recommend school promoters to opt for school master plan, school architecture and school interior designing services from professional agencies with exclusive expertise in designing 21st-century learning environments.
Posted on July 10, 2018 | by Vinod Kakumanu
CBSE affiliation bye-laws are set for an overhaul. The proposals containing guidelines for far-reaching changes in the examination policy and affiliation bye-laws have been drafted and sent for consideration to Ministry of Human Resource and Development for approval. The proposal that is being construed as making the case for the revamping of the affiliation bye-laws has already been approved by the governing body of the CBSE. Besides this, the examination committee is reported to have been given more executive authority, which seems only rational in the light of scams and paper leaks in the CBSE board examinations, and some changes in the curriculum have been proposed to the NCERT by the board.
We believe the proposed changes in the affiliation bye-laws, will make it less arduous for the schools to decipher the bye-laws, apply and obtain affiliation. It remains to be seen if concessions are made in the land and infrastructural requirements besides the reduction in the procedural length and application processing time. It is expected that the affiliation process that currently spans between 16 to 18 months will take considerably less time of 6 months.
That implies ease for promoters starting a CBSE school and new entrants into the education sector. The sheer length of the process and the long tenure of the consideration before the affiliation is granted to the school had long been putting edupreneurs in logistical difficulties. And for the ones who contemplate setting up a school and subsequently making it a CBSE school,
deciphering affiliation bye-laws has very often been unduly hard. Affiliation bye-laws contain clauses about the minimum land requirement, documentation, qualifications of teachers, remuneration and financials that the school must conform to, among other critical conditions about the state of the school desired by the board. This makes the document crucial and, at the same time, voluminous. The affiliation bye-laws document which is a 90-page volume is getting trimmed down to 40 pages.
As a matter of course correction, “duplication” of procedures that take place in the course of inspection for granting affiliation to a school would be done away with. The present state of affairs has a lot of inspection, verification, and reviews that end up being done multiple times at two different levels. for instance, the inspection committee’s review of the documents related to the land and infrastructure is carried out despite the fact that every operational school already has the necessary certifications and permissions from the state education department. Other bureaucratic measures of checking conformity in the documentation and details about the amenities will stand curtailed if the reforms are finally approved.
The inspection committee that assesses the suitability of the school for affiliation will focus on reviewing the outcomes of the institution that relate to pedagogy, academics, teachers’ competence and level of training, initiative, and innovation.
If that comes to pass the affiliation to CBSE will not only get fine-tuned but remarkably progressive.
Posted on June 15, 2018 | by Vinod Kakumanu
School education is evolving in tandem with the diversifying higher education, spawning industries and broadening career options, some conventional and some not very much so. There have been steady and studied developments in the curriculums and pedagogy but then there are also abrupt modifications and short-sighted imports. Amidst this constant influx of newness in the school education scenario in India, one positive factor is unmistakably sighted. All boards of education including CBSE, CISCE, and international boards, which are increasingly becoming popular in India, including Cambridge and International Baccalaureate have been concentrating upon the targeted development of the intrinsic capabilities of the students. The degree of emphasis varies with each board and as an observer of school education scenario we have to admit that child-centric education culture has been predominant in the international curricula in general and in IB schools in particular. National boards have tried to engrain the element of equal importance to all streams of studies and identification and development of the innate potential of a student but there is still a lot left to be desired.
In other words, the ideal that is getting unprecedented attention from the modern curriculums and school education practices is that of exploration of aptitude of a child and facilitation of individualized learning outcomes.
Now, the school promoters are aided and advised to follow pedagogical practices or incorporate elements from progressive educational philosophies like Theory of Multiple Intelligences in the curriculum regardless of the board of education or certification exam they subscribe to.
However, like technical and academic shifts social and cultural changes are far more difficult to come by. There is clear bias for certain professions hence subjects and streams that lead to those professions. What results is undue pressure during studies and mediocrity in the profession, not to mention the potential lost through forced diversion from the stream of interest to the stream of “security”.
With the advent of organizations that implement a blend of career counseling, psychometrics, and parental orientation, a viable opportunity has opened up for students who feel the need to explore possibilities their aptitude affords them and opportunities that this day and age presents them.
There are facets of such comprehensive consultations and the counselors explore the areas that need to be scrutinized and studied to analyze any given case, these include understanding both parents’ choice or child’s ability and exploring the compatibility between the two.
There are critical junctures in the course of school education namely 10th and 12th grades ,which have come to be so decisive that they give an impression that they are salient life events for a substantial section of the population. As soon as a student has crossed one such milestone, the second one comes following on its heels. There comes an unmistakable dilemma for any student as soon as he or she approaches 12th grade. It all boils down to making the all-important career choice. Career guidance assessments play a pivotal role in mentoring the students and parents while making crucial career decisions.
Most times the parents start pressurizing their children to take up a career of their choice instead of focusing on the ability and interest of the child. It becomes a case of a tug-of-war between the stereotypes and interests, the parents and the child.
The absence of career guidance can hamper the students’ ability to be an achiever in his chosen field of career. Career counseling can be availed both at the school level i.e. while the student is doing his 12th and privately after passing out of the school.
It is left to the parents and the students to make the appropriate choice. In some cases, if the career counselor feels that the student’s choice of subjects has not benefited him or her and their grades reflect basically an unstudied choice of subjects, they might suggest something more befitting, because after this point the student might not be able to make another change of subjects in the future.
Coming to the modality of the counseling, depending on the stream that the student has chosen he or she has to write the relevant aptitude tests.
Career Guidance Test: These kinds of psychometric tests are conducted to discern the mental ability, intellectual inclination and academic aptitude of the student. These tests are designed as per the chosen field of the student. Results of these tests give an insight into the strengths and weaknesses of the student. The determination of aptitude act as a deciding factor in the suggestion of a career choice for the student.
Parental Counseling: It is imperative to counsel the parents, sometimes even prior to the student. Most parents have pressing anxieties which need to be addressed at the earliest. These concerns range from
Finally, though the decision rests on the jointly on the parents and the student, it is the career counselors job to point out the best interests of the student.
Encourage students to think of Alternate career opportunities:
Career counselors, are adept at encouraging students to step out of their comfort zone and focus on a career which they might never have conceived of taking up. They counsel students to take up vocational training or learn a foreign language along with their studies, which would help them further their career. For example, learning a foreign language opens a hoard of opportunities like- interpretation, foreign correspondent, diplomatic services, tourism, just to name a few.
It is a general assumption that students passing out of established colleges are preferred for high remunerative jobs, but today the industry is changing, and most well-paid positions are held by people who can think differently. This mindset is what the counselors focus on changing.
It’s time for the student to be in the know of their receptiveness towards a given domain of academia and not just the receptiveness of the industry for a particular trade. The modern methods of assessment of cerebral potentialities have to be employed with the perfect handling of adolescent emotions to achieve a future that has been dreamt of.
Entrepreneurs have taken cognizance of the need to direct the intellectual potential as suitably as possible. However, this enterprise requires coordinated efforts of several professionals including psychologists, academicians, career counselors, adolescent counselors, psychometric tests assessors besides subject experts. Enterprises such as mydisha (https://www.mydisha.in/) have reportedly shown promise and commitment to the entrepreneurial goal.