The director of public instructions in Kerala, Mr A.P.M. Mohammad Hanish, perhaps went somewhat overzealous on 31st July and issued an order banning cinematic dance in all government, aided and unaided schools across Kerala. This order also includes CBSE and ICSE affiliated schools (which operate on the basis of a No Objection Certificate) in the state. The district education authorities are to implement the order with immediate effect in 15,000 schools across the State.
Mr Hanish said “It has come to our notice that certain private organisations and TV channels are promoting cinematic dance in schools all over the state...It has reached ridiculous levels with classrooms are being used for cinematic dance training.’’
He said there were reports that some of the so called cinematic dance experts and trainers were using the opportunity to exploit students. Such restrictions are the need of the hour, he said.
Though the order does border on the humorous, there might be an element on skewed focus in some schools. The dance training is obviously, not the focus for a school and neither is lending out class rooms for commercial purposes.
Unaware Of revised SAS Rules, schools have to pay surcharge on tax. More than 800 schools and colleges in Bangalore are receiving notices from the BBMP with a list of arrears since 2008. At a broad level, all educational institutions in the city are exempt from paying property tax. However, the revised rules under self-assessment scheme (SAS) 2008 make it mandatory that they pay 25% of the tax amount as ‘service charges’ to the corporation considering that they also use the civic amenities provided. Majority of the institutions are not aware of the revised rules.
As per BBMP records, there are over 2,000 schools and colleges in the city including at least eight national institutions. Per BBMP, only 60% of them have promptly paid the service charges since 2008.
Based on the latest AICTE Process Handbook 2011-2012, the admission to any of the professional course including engineering, pharmacy and hotel management will need at least 50% in the required subjects. This is in addition to the policy recommendation which gives more weight to Class XII exams for admissions through IIT-JEE.
We welcome this move as this forces the students to pay attention to school curricula instead of only chasing coaching centers for an entrance examination. The downside of studying with blinders on is that many students who aspire for an IIT or professional degree focus on the core subjects and miss out of the basic language and social skills.
There will be significant impact of this policy as in some states like Gujarat the present cut-off is as low as 35% for admissions. Also this affects states like Bihar where the access to good schools in rural areas is a problem. There may be yet other problems arising out of varying marking schemes followed by different state and national boards.
Over-all this might turn out to be an astute move, but the implementation of this is yet to be seen.
Something that I noticed recently between my three nieces (in class XI, XII and freshman year) triggered a thought, and then led of a bit of research and finding out. One rather warm afternoon, my nieces were spending time trying to crack puzzles published in puzzle books and newspapers. One of them started on her own, the second one joined in. Gradually the eldest one got bored of watching TV and joined the younger ones.
The progress that the made together was remarkable compared to the slow start that the first young one made. It is also not as if the first one is less sharper than the other two. Very clearly three heads working together are better (you knew that), and three heads working together learned the mechanics of cracking the different types of puzzle schemas rapidly as well.
They moved from one puzzle type to the other, and cracked through rapidly. It also was evident that each of them excelled in a particular type. The gaps in understanding were filled in by the other two.
In the usual school education system, students interact with their teachers and parents. Parents and teachers interact with each other periodically, but there is hardly any formal education related interaction that students have together even sitting in a school.
This led me to do the quick search and research on the web, and not surprisingly plenty of research has been done in the past on collaborative learning. While, I read through research work, I also asked myself if children would collaborate as much if what they learned gave them a competitive edge over her/his peers.
To be continued...