The Board of Secondary Education, Manipur, is the apex school education regulatory body in the State. With 786 high and higher secondary schools (226 Government, 103 Government aided and 457 Private), BOSEM also takes care of conducting examination and conditions for granting recognition, says Dr Chithung Mary Thomas, Secretary, Board of Secondary Education, in an interview with Elets News Network (ENN).
What are your expectations from the “National Education Policy” with regards to the meeting the educational requirements of North East, especially Manipur?
The draft National Education Policy 2019 can be viewed as highly futuristic (and technology-driven) which merits justification considering the rapid technological advancements made in recent years. The challenge lie in assimilating the policy in view of the disparities and developmental gaps between the different regions across the country in terms of physical, technological, social and manpower infrastructure.
The North Eastern States of India have lagged behind in all development indices. It is only recently that concerted development efforts have trickled in with the initiatives of the “Act East Policy”. In Manipur, the State Government has taken up such bold steps as amalgamation of non-performing schools which will pave the way for opening new schools categories of such as are in line with the NEP 2019. However, the opening of ‘Special Education Zones’ as cited in the policy contradicts the survival of single schools in remote villages of Manipur. Thrust areas for Manipur would have to be sports, performing arts, vocational skills and crafts, computer & IT.
How do you see the Union Budget 2019-20 as far as education sector is concerned? Do you think allocation of Rs 400 crore for building world class institutions will bring the required change?
The overall direction of the budget 2019 seems progressive for the education sector. Allocations reflect that it is driven by ground realities. The budgetary allocation of Rs 400 crore for building World class institutions is encouraging. World class institution however, is not solely dependent on finance but also on the understanding, inspiration, motivation and quality of all the stakeholders involved in education.
I strongly feel that standards of schools at K-12 level should be emphasised. Unless done so, big universities may not be able to stand on the loose soils of a weak elementary & secondary level education.
What is your outlook towards the emergence of technology in education? How challenging it is to create a curriculum which is knowledgeable, futuristic and compulsive at the same time?
Technological advancements in the recent past have been explosive and irreversible. The dismay is that NCF-2005 framed 15 years ago is being followed till date leading to a mismatch in knowledge and curriculum making both obsolete. Technology is now indispensable and therefore it has become imperative to stress tech-based curriculum right from childhood in letter and in spirit.
What makes Board of Secondary Education (BOSEM) stand apart from the rest of the Boards of the country? Any exclusive initiatives have you undertaken that you want to highlight?
Established in 1972, the BOSEM develops curriculum and publishes text books up to secondary level in line with NCF and NCERT specifications. The state is a mini-India in all its diversity. 13 tribal dialects have been introduced in the curriculum as first language. To enhance academic values of the rich and varied culture of the state Thang Ta (local martial art), Eshei Nongmai (Music), Manipur Jagoi (dance) and Fine Arts are also introduced.
BOSEM has been one of the first boards in the North Eastern States to have introduced computerised codification of answer scripts in 2014, Bar code and OMR based evaluation since 2016. Since 2018, all records of students have been logged with National Security Depository Limited and Database Management Ltd (NDML) for online availability of students’ degrees, diplomas, certificates mark sheets etc. The first among the NE States to be integrated with DigiLocker under Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology is under process.
How content are you with the BOSEM 2019 result of HSLC and SSLC?
The result of HSLC 2019 has recorded the highest pass percentage since its inception in 1972. Examination reforms like conversion of all examination centres into Board centres, Bar coding in answer scripts, multi level coding, live monitoring of evaluation were successfully implemented.
Government schools showed marked improvement both in terms of student enrolment and pass percentage which can be attributed to the “School Fagathansi Mission” initiated by the Govt. of Manipur. It aims at overall improvement of government schools in terms of physical and manpower insfrastructural gaps. Another initiative is ‘Lairik Tamhallasi Mission” (No child left behind). This is aimed to bring ‘out of school children’ within age group of 15-18 yrs back to the formal school system.
With the co-ordinated efforts from the fraternity of Education and with the implementation of the NEP, 2019, I hope that the challenges will be overcome so that the objective of education is achieved.