The Arunachal Age

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Against students interest

The sharp hike in the examination fees of Class 10 and Class 12 students by the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) is against the interest of the students particularly those who belong to Scheduled Caste (SC) and Scheduled Tribe (ST) categories and those who are poor. The hike in fee is so steep that the SC and ST students who were paying Rs 50 earlier will now have to have to shell out Rs 1,200 for five subjects. The fee for general-category students of both classes has been doubled. The decision has been taken amid the central government fine-tuning New Education Policy for the country.

This is the first hike in the past five years, according to board officials. Bringing the CBSE charges on a par with those of the other central board, the National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS) is being cited to justify the fee revision. The reason is unconvincing as the two boards are poles apart. The CBSE s focus is on formal/regular schooling, while the NIOS concentrates on open and distance learning. Over 21,000 schools in India and more than 220 in foreign countries are affiliated to the CBSE. Higher exam fee will only add to the financial burden of lakhs of students and their parents.

Whether the huge sums of money collected will help in some way to improve the quality of education or make the curriculum holistic is anybody s guess. The board s eagerness to bolster its financial position should be matched by the resolve to make judicious use of the funds. Moreover, the one size fits all approach has to be eschewed. Region-specific content is the need of the hour, especially when the prospect of mono-culture in education looms large. A monolithic model is uncalled for in a country renowned for its regional, religious and cultural diversity. Rather than remaining ensconced in its ivory tower, the CBSE should also chip in to help various state boards address their academic, infrastructural and financial issues. An outreach by the central board can go a long way in raising the standard of education across the length and breadth of the country. Few chief ministers of the state have already expressed shock and surprise at the CBSE s decision to hike the fee. It is against students interest and needs to be opposed.

 

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