All schools will follow common science curriculum from 2011

From 2011, all school boards across India are likely to have a common science and mathematics syllabus.

Updated: Feb 16, 2010, 19:38 PM IST

New Delhi: In a significant initiative,
20 school boards on Tuesday agreed on a common curriculum in
science and mathematics at senior secondary level and decided
to work towards a common entrance test for admission into
higher courses, including engineering and medicine.

To bring uniformity in the education system across the
country, the Council of School Board of Education (COBSE), the
apex body for all school boards and councils in the country,
decided to implement the core curriculum from 2011 and work
towards the common entrance test by 2013.
"The COBSE approved the core curriculum in science and
mathematics. This will be accepted by all the state boards at
the senior higher secondary level. Hence forth, the core
curriculum will be taught in the science stream in all
schools," Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal

The COBSE also agreed that the school boards will work
towards a common entrance examination for admission of
students in higher courses, including engineering and
medicine, by 2013.

The government will set up a task force which will
decide the modalities of that entrance test.
The school boards also agreed to evolve a core
curriculum in Commerce stream. It is expected to be ready in
the next three months.

After the core curriculum in commerce, the COBSE will
also move towards a common entrance in that subject.

"The idea is that there will be single entrance for
each stream. The nature of the entrance will be decided by
the task force," Sibal said as he described the decision as a
"historic" one.

He said common curriculum will give a level playing
field for all students as they will pursue the same course.
The task force will also decide how to bring synergy between
the board exam and the proposed entrance examination.

Sibal said the task force, which is expected to be set
up within a month, will also suggest whether the common
entrance will give weightage to the marks obtained by students
in their school boards.

The core curriculum has been prepared in the subjects
of Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics and Biology.

The state school board chiefs also appeared off beat
over the decision.

"This is a good step to have a common curriculum. We
have no problem on implementing it," Bihar School Exam Board
Chairman A K P Yadav said.

However, there may be certain difficulties in holding
a common entrance test, he said.
"While holding a common entrance test for the country,
the state`s interest has to be protected in the state level
institutes," he said.

CBSE chairman Vineet Joshi said the decision would be
of immense help to the students.

Poonam Sodhi, Deputy Secretary of Council for the
Indian School Certificate Examination, said common syllabus
will help in bringing the competence level of children to a
same level.

Sibal said that the task force will decide in two
years about how to hold a common entrance test.

At present, the universities are following different
practices in selecting the students for under-graduate
courses. While some of them are taking students on the basis
of marks, some universities are holding entrance test.

Each state is holding separate entrance test for
admission of students in engineering courses. Elite institutes
like IITs and NITs are taking students from the merit list of
special entrance tests.

Similarly, medical institutions are holding different
types of entrance tests for giving admission to students.

The task force will consult the school boards, elite
institutes like IITs and AIIMS to examine whether the proposed
entrance will be able to cater to the requirements of all
types of institutes, sources said.

The common entrance will smoothen the admission
process into engineering as students will not have to appear
in multiple tests. This will be in pattern of Scholastic
Assessment Test, being conducted in the US.

Sibal said the matter of common entrance examination
will be taken for approval to Central Advisory Board of
Education, the apex advisory body with state education
ministers as its members.

Asked whether similar common curriculum would be
designed for subjects of humanities, Sibal said, "I hope all
states agree on that."

The Yashpal Committee on Renovation and Rejuvenation
of Higher Education had suggested for conducting a single
entrance test for admission of students into higher studies.

Chairpersons and representatives of 20 different
schools boards participated in the meeting. The members gave
some suggestions which will be incorporated into the core
curriculum. Incorporation of projects and other activities
oriented methods of assessment was also suggested.

Teachers training and admissions orientation was
emphasised at the meeting. There may also be more workshops to
disseminate the common core curriculum.