Newly appointed Gulf member of the governing body of the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) says making the Indian curriculum relevant to the UAE and the Gulf is his top agenda.
Ashok Kumar, CEO and principal of Indian High School (IHS) — one of the most sought after Asian schools — told Khaleej Times that as the first regional member of the board’s policy-making arm, he has vowed to “voice any issue” that affect Indian schools, affiliated to CBSE, in the UAE and Gulf.
There are about 102 CBSE schools in the Gulf, including 40 in the UAE.
“I would like to see an international curriculum of CBSE to be framed, especially in the Social Studies. Presently, the subject is India-specific. However, we need to broaden its scope to include Gulf and other countries – be it Far East or any other country,” explained Kumar.
Social Studies, which comprises of History, Geography, Civics and Economics, gives students an overview of the subcontinent’s historical and political structure. “The subject should contain certain portions that would be region specific so children can learn more about the country they are residing in. Children here in the UAE should know about aspects of the rulers here, while also learning about India and the world,” said Kumar, also a panel member of the Selection Committee in the UAE Education Ministry for principals of private schools.
The governing body of the CBSE is a core committee comprising a select group of individuals, who are eminent educators. This body is the final decision making panel of the board, where resolutions related to the curriculum, examinations, activities, innovative programmes and strategic planning of over 9,000 CBSE schools spread all over the world are taken.
Kumar also expressed his keenness to take up problems that affected Indian schools in the region. “I would like to bridge and align policies of the local education authority in the UAE and the Gulf with the CBSE,” he added.
Asked about the recurrent traffic problem in Dubai that often held up students appearing for final exams, he said he would willingly take up such issues with the Governing Body of CBSE. Last year, after three Grade XII students in the emirate were delayed in traffic on the Dubai-Sharjah highway, nearly missing their crucial board examinations, former CBSE chairman, Ashok Ganguly, said that the board would contemplate a change in timings in the Gulf.
He is also a member of the Accreditation Committee of the UAE Ministry of Education and the Strategy Planning Committee of Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA).