The much hyped international schools in the city offering multi-cuisine food and water sports facilities among other luxuries are no more winning the fancy of parents. Coimbatore, which had witnessed a boom in such schools last year, offering the ICSE and IGCSE syllabus, is now leaning towards CBSE schools. Even the matriculation schools which ruled the roost for the past few decades are now opening up their own CBSE wings, keeping in tune with the trend.
"In these competitive times, parents can no longer remain complacent about the academic performance of their wards. Many city parents have moved their children from Matriculation to CBSE schools as they perceive the latter would help their children score better in the public examination," points out Santhya Vikram, an educationist. Till last year, the city had very few CBSE schools. However, with the introduction of the Uniform Syllabus System, many parents were not comfortable with the state board due to the controversies surrounding the new system.
This contributed to the growing popularity of CBSE schools. "There is a trend towards the CBSE schools. A host of reasons can be attributed to this from the inclusion of Hindi in the CBSE syllabus to the uncertainties of the state syllabus. There is also the assumption that the central syllabus is far superior," says Sera, principal of Vidya Niketan Matriculation School. "The CBSE syllabus is accepted worldwide. Besides, till class 7 we can choose our own text books, allowing us to adapt to the needs of the children," says Anusha R Mahesh, CEO of the Park Group of Institutions.
Besides, many CBSE schools offer courses in foreign languages, an added attraction, she says. The proliferation and popularity of CBSE schools has led many state schools to worry about enrollment. The headmaster of a government school says that although, they have no problems now, they may face a shortage of students in the future. However, district education officials do not accept this argument. P. A. Naresh, Joint director of Higher education says: "Last year, only 1.5 lakh students chose the matriculation syllabus over the state syllabus. The number of enrollments in CBSE may even be less. I don't think the state schools will face any problems," said Naresh.
"The CBSE syllabus certainly has its advantages. Students from this system perform better in competitive exams. Officials have tried to update the state syllabus to make it comparable with the CBSE syllabus, but teachers are not able to cope with the higher standards," said a senior education officer on conditions of anonymity. Nalini Shastry, a former teacher who takes private tuition for school students, says that CBSE students struggle with the syllabus because the teachers are not up to the mark.
"It is unfortunate that many teachers are not qualified to teach the CBSE syllabus. This is apparent because even the bright students struggle to cope with the syllabus," she said. K Sathyanarayanan, principal of Mani Higher Secondary School says that state schools are as good as CBSE schools. "The only advantage of CBSE is that it helps students compete better in national level exams. This is because the questions are framed based on the NCERT syllabus. Up till class 10 I feel that both state and CBSE schools are equally good. But at the higher secondary level, CBSE does offer an advantage," he said.
D Vijayalakshmi moved her son D Harshnarayan from Carmel Garden Matriculation School to the Indian Public School which offers the ICSE syllabus as she was worried about the controversies surrounding the Samacheer Kalvi. Although he finds it a bit difficult to adjust to the changes of the new syllabus, his parents are confident that with time, he will be able to manage just fine. IGCSE and IB schools call themselves international schools, but some of these international courses are yet to get recognition in India.
Most of these schools just follow the international syllabus, but are not affiliated to any board of education in India or abroad. In addition, these schools do not come under the scanner of either the central or state school education departments. With building approvals from local bodies, it is relatively easier to start an international school without going through the bureaucratic maze," points out S Arokiaraj, a parent.
Courtesy: Times of India