In a major development, a statement by the ministry of human resource and development (MHRD) has been issued stating that the CBSE affiliation process will imminently undergo substantive change.
The news was expected as the governing body of the CBSE had submitted its recommendations about reform in the bye-laws to the ministry earlier this year.
In the wake of changes, the process of affiliation to the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) is expected to become simpler and unambiguous, making the process to start a CBSE school easier.
Notably, the plea for doing away with the complications involved in the process had persistently been made by the schools aspiring for CBSE affiliation. The bye-laws were first drafted and came in effect in 1988, The bye-laws last saw amendments in 2012. It is accounted that the amendment of the bye-laws are qualitatively different from its 2012 precedent.
CBSE affiliation is regulated by the affiliation bye-laws which contain the specifications and conditions that the school must fulfill. The school makes an application for the affiliation and the Inspection Committee constituted by the board to approve or decline the request of affiliation inspects the school. There is also a provision of disaffiliation if the affiliated school is found to be in violation of the bye-laws.
The 2018 reforms (New CBSE Affiliation Bye-Laws 2018)
The inspection committee deputed by the CBSE used to inspect the infrastructure, amenities, records and documents, the details of equipment in the lab and number of books in the library. It was hopelessly pedantic to say the least.
There was hardly any time left for the assessment of learning outcomes, curricular efficiency and caliber and vision of the educators.
The affiliation process is now based on mutual confidence and the synergistic association between state and the CBSE, representing the center. This is a progressive step that will have a lasting impact.
The defining points of the reforms
The infrastructure, facilities, and documentation will be inspected by the office of the District Education Officer and NOC to that effect will be issued to the school that will be acknowledged by the CBSE inspection committee.
The duplication of inspection of aspects is removed. Clear delegation of inspection roles has been made for state and CBSE inspection team.
In the event of taking the land/school building on a lease, the period lease that a school had to have for affiliation has been reduced from 30 years to 15 years.
The CBSE affiliation inspection committee will concentrate only on the ‘learning outcomes’ and academic aspects and effectiveness of curricular implementation. Academic excellence and teacher training will also factor in during the assessment of the school for affiliation.
There are express directions about the application fee. The timeframe to apply for CBSE affiliation is now from 1st of January to 31st March of a calendar year. Direct affiliation up to class 12 is now allowed.
The new affiliation bye-laws categorically mention the procedure for transferring a school from a society/trust/company to another, shifting of school from one location to other, change in name of school/society/trust/company and closure of a school.
In the case of franchisee schools, the bye-laws limit the association between the franchisor and franchisee to academic support, academic guidance, training of manpower and extra and co-curricular activities.
The bye-laws present pre-affiliation and post-affiliation conditions for school. Refer CBSE Affiliation Bye-laws 2018.
The affiliation application process will be made online in entirety. The online submission of documents etc. and application is online currently as well, but there was a lot of offline correspondence involved.
Measures will be taken to remedy the pendency of affiliation application. There are 8000 applications which are pending with the board for a decade, out of which only 2000 have been addressed.
The ruling about making sports mandatory has been issued by the CBSE earlier this year. Now, the schools that are aspiring for CBSE affiliation will have to submit an undertaking ensuring making sports mandatory. The existing CBSE schools have also been directed to submit such an undertaking.
The schools are directed to divulge the fee that they are charging. The figure must not involve any hidden cost and should be absolutely transparent.
Disaffiliation would follow non-compliance to any of the mandatory requirements, financial opacity and irregularities. Promotion of any enterprise by prompting the students to buy supplies would also be considered a violation.
The current figures indicate that there are 20,783 schools CBSE affiliated schools in India with 10 lakhs teachers and 2 crore students and every year 2000 application by the schools for CBSE affiliation are registered. If the pendency alone is cleared there will be 8000 new CBSE schools in India shortly.
As a matter of fact, India needs several private K-12 schools to educate the children the number of whom is projected to grow by millions by 2022. It is only logical to assume that the number of applications for CBSE affiliation will grow even further. A process that is protracted and impeded by bureaucratic maze would hardly be efficient enough to preclude pendency and meet the challenge.
The reforms made will positively complement efficiency, transparency and speed to the current affiliation process.
The streamlining of the affiliation process will have a significant impact on the K-12 education scenario in India and will also give food for thought to the other boards of education and probably we will see amendments in the processes of affiliation of the ICSE and International curriculum schools.
Founder & Consultant - School Serv
Vinod Kakumanu heads a team of school services professionals and is an independent commentator on Indian school education scenario. Vinod has assisted school promoters establish 35+ schools besides providing ancillary services to over 1000 schools across India. He envisions a future where quality education is made available to every child of the country. The focus he places on the quality of the deliverables and customer satisfaction has made him renowned in the field of K-12 school education.