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Govt liberalizes CBSE affiliation norms for more transparency

New Delhi: Establishing a school in India was never easy. Besides building the infrastructure such as classrooms, laboratories and libraries, the paperwork and long process involved was a damper. However, getting an approval for setting up a school affiliated to the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) may just be a cake walk, if the Union government walk the talk on reducing paperwork and other formalities by 75%, and taking the process online.

Union human resource development minister Prakash Javadekar on Thursday said school reforms will speed up the approval process, reduce pendency and curb duplicity of work between central and state governments.

All processes will be online to bring in transparency in the school sector, which caters to millions of students across India, added school education secretary Rina Ray.

Instead of physical verification, CBSE will focus on learning outcome while granting approval. “The inspection will focus on academic excellence and progress of students over time, innovations and quality of pedagogy, capacity of teachers and teacher training, inclusive practices in school, and quality of co-scholastic activities. This will not only help the board and the school to track students’ progress over time, but will also identify areas that would need further effort,” the central board said.

Schools affiliated to the CBSE will have to make full fee disclosures on their websites. In a way, the reform move liberalized the school affiliation system under the CBSE, authorities in the ministry said.

From now on schools will be required to provide two documents instead of 14, while seeking CBSE affiliation, according to the plan. Most physical inspections will be conducted by the district education officer.

Javadekar said the new rules reflect a “shift from the highly complex procedure followed earlier to a simplified system based on preventing duplication of processes”.

“As a result of this major change, the board shall not revisit any of the aspects vetted by the state during inspection and the delay because of scrutiny and non-compliance of deficiencies in these documents shall be drastically curtailed.”

CBSE has more than 20,783 schools under its jurisdiction, catering to over 20 million students. As it is the central board, it works as a model for nearly 28 state school boards in terms school reforms, change in inspection and approval system.

The entire school sector caters to nearly 250 million students and the country spends more than 2.5% of the gross domestic product on the sector.

Instead of school management waiting for years, the affiliation process can be completed in a few months and there will be no pendency, CBSE said.

Javadekar said that in 2018 the government cleared about 8,000 applications, some of which were seven or eight years old.

CBSE will inspect the learning outcome in affiliated schools every five years