CEO & Secretary, CISCE
An English and education postgrad of Utkal University, Gerry Arathoon is the former principal of St. Thomas Church School, Howrah, West Bengal, who signed up with the Delhi-based pan-India Council for the Indian School Certificate Examinations (CISCE, estb.1958) board in 2002. In 2012, he was appointed CEO and secretary general of the board. Currently, CISCE has 3,000 affiliated schools across the country with an estimated 2.5 million students.
How has CISCE responded to the Covid-19 challenge?
CISCE has always encouraged its schools to adopt innovative practices and modern technology in their day-to-day classroom transactions. Following outbreak of Covid-19, CISCE has taken several initiatives. Some of them are:
• Several live teaching sessions have been organised by subject experts for classes III-XII through News 18, Bangla and ABP Ananda television channels. Recordings of these sessions are available for public viewing on our website www.cisce.org.
• Advisories have been sent to all affiliated schools to use modern and digital media for imparting education during the lockdown period.
• In addition to providing academic learning advice, CISCE has also tied up with the Fit India Mission of SAI (Sports Authority of India) which has prepared live fitness sessions for our schools. These sessions are also available on the CISCE website.
• Online platforms are being extensively used in the board’s interaction with all stakeholders engaged in examination-related work.
Several state governments have issued fees waiver/deferment circulars to private school managements. Your comment?
In CISCE, we have been carefully tracking the various fees payment directives of state governments and high courts. We have directed our schools to levy only tuition fees and permit financially constrained parents to pay in installments until the lockdown is lifted. We have also advised our schools not to increase tuition fees until the end of the current academic year, and to maintain teacher and staff salaries/ emoluments.
Top 3 proposals for reviving K-12 education…
Pedagogy. Greater emphasis on process-based learning. Schools and teachers should ensure that rather than being mere recipients of information, students are also actively involved in the learning process.
Assessment. Exams should assess children’s knowledge, capabilities and skills. Question papers should test students’ knowledge application, analysis and reasoning capabilities.
Teacher training. Greater emphasis on training of teachers in pedagogies involving use of 21st century skills such as critical thinking, problem solving, creativity, etc, along with greater use of technology in the teaching-learning process.
What are your future plans for CISCE?
CISCE will adopt technology in a bigger way in all its operations so that its operations do not remain restricted to any particular location but can be run from any geographical location.
Online teaching. To reach out to all affiliated schools, even those in the remotest parts of the country and to address the problem of non-availability of good teachers, CISCE plans to venture into the area of online teaching. Review of existing pattern of question papers, online examinations and assessment. CISCE plans to review its existing pattern of assessment at the ICSE and ISC levels so there is greater focus on questions that require the ability to reason, analyse, justify and evaluate.