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Dubai school withdraws CBSE-i curriculum

Dhanusha Gokulan / 21 March 2012

A Dubai-based Indian school following the Central Board of Secondary Education-international (CBSE-i) has decided to temporarily discontinue with the curriculum.

DUBAI — A Dubai-based Indian school following the Central Board of Secondary Education-international (CBSE-i) has decided to temporarily discontinue with the curriculum following the reluctance on behalf of a large number of students to take up CBSE-i for their Grade 11 examinations. 

A few parents and students of Our Own Indian School told Khaleej Times that the syllabus prescribed by the CBSE-i is not systematic and students, especially those in the higher classes, found it difficult to cope with the constant changes made by the board. The board’s sudden decision to start compulsory board exams for Grade 11 CBSE-i students in November 2011 is one of the reasons that the school decided to withdraw from the curriculum, according to a few parents. The students will now continue under the normal CBSE curriculum. The pilot project launched by the CBSE in 2010, on par with the likes of curriculum of International Baccalaureate (IB), was adopted by very few schools here in the UAE.

The curriculum which encourages activity-oriented teaching does not prescribe any text books and parents said that the lesson plans came in at the last minute. Initially, the changes in curriculum were adapted in Grades 1 and 9. “It was not being properly planned. The portions for subjects like Hindi came in at the last minute. Even though the material was of very good quality, the board did not systematically lay out the curriculum and the syllabus kept changing,” said Sheila (name changed at request), a parent of a 9th grader in the school. She added that Grade 9 and 11 were crucial stages in a child’s life and such sudden shift in syllabi was too risky for the student. 

She added: “Of course the parents were well aware of the shift that was going to take place, but what we did not expect is the complete lack in planning.” Our Own Indian School is managed by the GEMS group. David Wilson, Director of Asian Schools and Chief Academic Officer India, GEMS Education, said that the shift is not ideal, but in this case is the best decision that meets the needs of both parents and pupils.

“The main challenge was a lack of content and guidance about how to make the transition. We all believe the decision to shift to a more child-centred holistic education approach is the right one, but the implementation of the change was where problems were encountered,” he said, adding that the decision to discontinue is not a collective one as the Millennium School, Dubai, which follows the CBSE-i curriculum as well, will continue under the same syllabi.

“Our other schools will incorporate as much of the CBSE-i approach that they can, but will not formally convert to the new syllabus at this stage,” he added. Meanwhile, a parent whose daughter is in Grade 1 at the school, said that she did not face problems with the syllabus. They have four compulsory Physical Education classes every week that are set by the board, which kept the students very happy.

dhanusha@khaleejtimes.com

 
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