What drives parents towards CBSE schools?

They believe that CBSE schools would equip their children better to face competitive examinations

Owing to the increasing perception that Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) syllabus will help students crack national-level exams, parents prefer CBSE schools over State Board schools despite the higher fee structure, Education Department officials here say.

T. Arulanandam, District Secretary, Tamil Nadu High and Higher Secondary School Graduate Teachers Association, observed that this trend began when Samacheer Kalvi (Equitable Education)– common syllabus for State Board, Matriculation and Anglo-Indian schools – was introduced in 2011.

However,he noted that the reform measures taken in the State Board system of education recently, including the introduction of the Tamil Nadu Teacher Eligibility Test, improving the quality of textbooks by including features such as QR codes and the practice of not disclosing the toppers of the Board examinations, were attempts made to improve the standard of State Board schools on par with CBSE schools.

He admitted that these had not resonated with the parents, who still consider that CBSE schools would equip their children better to face competitive examinations. “If NEET is based on the State Board syllabus instead of CBSE syllabus, the State Board students here might have a good chance of clearing the examination in larger numbers,” he said, which might encourage the parents to enrol their children in State Board schools.

According to Mr. Arulanandam, managements find CBSE schools more profitable as it is possible to charge “extra fees” as opposed to State Board schools, where the schools must adhere to the fees structure of the State government. “Realising this, many managements run CBSE and State Board schools simultaneously,” he said.

In 2017, CBSE asked all the private schools to list their fees structure to curb charging of ‘unreasonable’ fees. However, with CBSE not articulating the penalty measures for defaulting schools, many schools are yet to display the fees structure. A senior education official told The Hindu that this could change in the city soon as it was mandated last year that all the CBSE and ICSE schools should obtain certificate of recognition from the State.

“This is mandatory along with the no objection certificate from the State Government and certificate of recognition from the CBSE,” the official said.

The official asserted that the current Samacheer Kalvi syllabus was on par with or better than that of CBSE, adding that parents would soon begin to prefer the State Board syllabus.

Mr. Arulanandam also suggested that the State government must ensure smart classes and internet facilities in every State Board schools to help students learn beyond their textbooks. He also opined that not disclosing the toppers, though a welcome step, might discourage those students who are competitive.

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