June 29, 2009
Abstract: Kapil Sibal’s (Minister for Human Resource Development) 2009 proposals to change the process of school certification are intended to reform the primary education system in India. The aim is to focus on (a) the capacity of kids to learn and (b) the content of teaching. Goals and strategies should include four “core” and two “elective” attributes. Core includes literacy, numeracy, ethics and teamwork and should be the focus of the first 5-6 years of schooling, after which a certificate of completion should be given
The elective attributes are based on the distinction between academic and vocational streams. The former would focus on preparing students for universities and the latter on marketable skills which would enable students to seek employment immediately after obtaining their school leaving certificate. Clearly there will be two types of certificates awarded for the two different streams. Successful implementation will require willingness to change on the part of school management and teachers, and will require resources from both the Centre and the States.
Keywords: school certification; academic stream; vocational training; school teachers