Outrageous! ICSE board will NOW hold board exams for classes 5 and 8 from 2018

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The council CEO Gerry Arathoon issued a statement at a press conference in Kolkata on Wednesday

Before you think that it is fake news let me tell you that whatever you read right now is correct. The Indian Certificate of Secondary Education(ICSE) has indeed said that their class 5 and 8 students will have to face board examinations from 2018.

The council CEO Gerry Arathoon issued a statement at a press conference in Kolkata on Wednesday and said that while there would be boards there would be no pass-fail tags attached to it.


“It will be just a periodical evaluation exercise to have an idea on the progress of the students’ learning after a particular level. In Class 5 and 8 board examinations, the answer papers of the students of one school will be evaluated by teachers of another school, as it happens in case of the final class 10 level examination. The new uniform syllabi will be effective from 2018,” the CEO said.

He also informed the media that the board has decided to introduce three compulsory subjects–Sanskrit, yoga and performing arts out of which Yoga and performing arts will be compulsory from classes 1 and 8. Sanskrit will be introduced from classes 5 to 8.

He further added that all the ICSE-affiliated schools will have to follow uniform syllabus from nursery till class 10.

Experts and parents feel otherwise

Experts, however, feel that it would not be a good idea.

“How is this going to benefit the students? Our educational boards need to understand that evaluating teacher performance by testing children is not going to help either the teachers or the children. Test based education has failed globally and that is why Finland and now Singapore are scoring well on the PISA scores because they have changed the way their children are taught. Testing has never made better students, testing only gives you the first ten ranks and the rest get ignored. I feel it is a kind of racism in education where the children who benefit by tests always score well but the others get ignored and left behind even though they are intelligent,” said Swati Popat Vats, President of the Podar Education Network.

“Our educational boards need to move away from testing only ‘tests’ memory skills,” Vats told theindusparent.

“I hate exams. We also had a council exam in standard eighth and I cleared it. But on the whole, I feel that exams stresses students and kids get demotivated at an early age after being categorized as achievers and non-achievers,” says Mumbai-based Prerna Pandey, science writer and mother of two school going daughters.

Ms Vats also added that it will only result in anxious parents and elevated anxiety levels.

“These kinds of board exams at such an early age will only get two results- anxious parents who will then pass on the elevated anxiety levels to their children, who in turn will end up with confidence issues and depression and secondly it will aid tuition and coaching classes. So unless the board is doing it to benefit tuition and coaching classes, I think this decision needs to be rethought,” adds Vats.

Podar Education Network President with the kids of Podar Jumbo Kids

Podar Education Network President Swati Popat Vats with the kids of Podar Jumbo Kids

Mumbai-based Debolina Raja, mum of a fifth grader and Junior KG kid, agrees and says that Indian students are already under so much pressure.

“As a parent, I have just one word – ‘ridiculous.’ In India, we are already witnessing the immense pressure that kids are out under because of the Indian academic system. Even if the said board exams for class 5 and 8 may not have a pass-fail tag, there are many parents who will start pressuring their children the moment they hear the word ‘boards.’ Instead of ‘just’ an evaluation process, it will turn into a pressuring process in which children as young as class 3 and 4 will also not be spared, in a rush to get them ready for the class 5 boards,” she said.

Raja adds that children are already burdened, with more emphasis on learning by rote than understanding and learning.

“Also, introduction Sanskrit as a compulsory subject between class 5 and 8 will be a huge mistake. It is always important to start learning a new language when the child is still young, as it is easier for them to grasp the nuances. Introducing it at this stage will put more pressure on children who will already struggle with the added burden and scare of the proposed board exams. I’m sorry but looks like ICSE is hell bent on taking away even the little bit of childhood that our children have under the Indian education system,” she told theindusparent.

Ms Vats, on the other hand, is happy with the inclusion of Yoga and performing arts.

“On the other hand I would like to congratulate them on the inclusion of Yoga, performing arts and Sanskrit in the curriculum,” she added.

Also Read: ICSE to overall entire syllabus and allign with CBSE

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