Talking to Dr. G Immanuel – CISCE Chairman

Dr. Immanuel, Chairman CISCE talks extensively on the education system and the various boards controlling education in India in an exclusive interview with India School News.

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Dr. Immanuel begins by saying, “There is a world of difference in schooling between then and now. The transition is like a “Sage on the stage to Guide by the side”. Present generation (Centennials) is fortunate to have computer aided teaching-learning. This was not there in our time.

Selection of Board for Students
He views the confusion of parents on the selection of board for their children as something not required. With just a click, the parents can get all the information they need on different boards functioning in India. Each state board has its own curriculum based on the local demands but National boards like CBSE, CISCE, NIOS follow a broad curriculum prepared to meet the needs of the country. He tells that for Higher Secondary classes, syllabi of Science, Mathematics and Commerce are same. IB/IGCSE are also preferred by a few parents.
Parents who can’t afford the high school fees charged by the boards, opt for State Board recognized and aided schools. This is because the state government aided schools do not charge school fees. There are parents who go to State Board unaided private schools as they focus on customs and culture and are better equipped than the government aided schools. Those parents who get transferred Pan India and are Central Government employees would prefer CBSE and Central Government aided schools.
Schools that offer high quality education, proficiency of English, and where learning without understanding is never encouraged are the choice of yet another set of parents. They would expect their children to master different subjects by understanding the concepts and learn how to answer questions by applying the same in practical situations. For them CISCE, New Delhi board will be the best choice. These schools are not only recognized in India but also across the globe for its quality and excellence of education. CISCE board is not only student-friendly but also a source of inspiration to the teaching faculty and parents.

To Improve is to Change
Dr. Immanuel talks about the various changes he brought about in ICSE education.
· Modernization – Online modules for e-affiliation, e-registration, conduct of examinations, verification of duplicate documents, and recheck of marks have helped in reducing the time and efforts and improved transparency of the system.
· Effective Communication–Online modules have reduced the paperwork and improved the exchange of information between the council and schools.
· Automated handling of Answer sheet packets with the help of Bundles Management System has improved the overall efficiency.
· Introduction of Live Ink Character Recognition gets digitized marks from evaluation centers and reduces time and improves efficiency.
· Archiving documents in “electronic form has helped in easy access and fast retrieval.”
· Online payments are allowed
· CISCE assists schools to sail through new modules smoothly without any issues.
· Coffee table book
· Fee subsidy to all deserving candidates
· Infrastructure development
· Construction of staff quarters at GK-2
· CISCE related arrangements and facilities, a new building at Noida
· Building to facilitate decentralization of CISCE administrative work, inductive training, in-service training
· Higher transparency of CISCE matter
· Training programs in Delhi and Kolkata, schools to organize training programs in own cities as per requirements
· Deputy Secretary for guiding, directing, and regulating CISCE’s finances
· PRO to intimate public about the innovations brought for the benefit of CISCE students and teachers
· Legal advisors to regulate functioning of CISCE

About International Board
About preference of parents to select IB than CBSE or ICSE, Mr. Immanuel says:
· It could be because of the different curriculum offered by IB.
· Students do not have examinations till they reach class X.
· Importance is given to how much the students have understood the subject.
· There are no text books and students can opt their own books.
· Parents feel that children have less stress and tension apart from better opportunities anywhere in the world.
· If the parents want their children to be associated with kids of rich families their option is IB.
· Some schools are taking dual affiliation from IB/IGCSE boards as well

Dr. Immanuel says, “CISCE, New Delhi not only offers various subject combinations and syllabi to meet the compulsory requirements of the Indian Premier Colleges/Universities but also permits and encourages students who wish to take up any other combination of subjects to meet their desired international college demands.” CISCE is accepted internationally since the last several years.

His School Days
He recollects about his school days and how Mrs. Satyanandam, his favorite teacher was devoted to help each student learn many skills and activities. She not only spent her time but also money to help students. She has been the main source of inspiration for him in what he is doing now.

Schooling Then and Now
Dr. Immanuel feels that there is a sea of difference between his school days and the present days.
· The current generation has the advantage of using Information technology for learning.
· He says, “we have learned the hard way. We have learnt everything without stress…we had enough time to play, relax and learn at our own pace.”
· His generation never had the necessity to go for coaching classes for entrance exams.
· The centennials have lot of stress, and though have plenty of career opportunities, there is a crisis in our country because of excess population in the country.
· The present generation very much depends on the private coaching.

Recruitment of Teachers
On recruiting quality teachers for ICSE board schools, Dr. Immanuel says:
· Teachers should be academically qualified and professionally trained.
· CISCE affiliated schools should pay good salaries to the teachers so that they devote all their time for the betterment of students.
· CISCE arranges for in-service training programs at various locations and teachers and heads of its affiliated schools are encouraged to join these programs to improve their skills and nurture the young minds to fit into not only this world but also the world to come.

Using Technology to Teach
Dr. Immanuel has the following to say about usage of technology in schools:
· Technology is a ubiquitous part of children’s lives. Technology revolutionizes the learning process.
· Technology surely affects a student’s achievement positively and improves his performance.
· It has been an explosive growth of internet use and computer technology.
· Loads of information is available on the internet, easily accessible by search engines.
· Teachers get plenty of information and students research on anything in no time.
· Given the importance of fusing technology with education, Government of Ministry has introduced awards for teachers for using ICT for innovations in education.
· Such teachers have proved that student learning can be enhanced by integrating technology supported learning into school curriculum and subject teaching, and thereby promoting inquiry-based cooperative collaboration learning.
· CISCE has made usage of technology mandatory in schools affiliated.
· For checking if technology is used for progress of schools, teachers are encouraged to use technology in teaching and “they are evaluated for its use. The best users of technology are recommended for National Award.

Dr. Immanuel says that even though currently education is considered as the means of getting economically and socially better off, the system should focus on “man-making more than money-making.” He suggests:
· Development of practical skills: “I believe that if you teach a man a skill, you enable him for a lifetime.” Education should focus on improving practical skills and should have employability and utility.
· Personalized education: “If something is good for one child, the same is not good for all. Teachers should be guides and mentors to students. Education has to be decentralized, personalized and meet the individual needs of students.”
· Smart people for teaching: “We need leaders, entrepreneurs in teaching positions.” The best students and top scorers should be encouraged to take up teaching.
· Technology infrastructure for education: With computers and internet, it makes sense to invest in integrating technology in teaching. Educational delivery mechanisms are needed now to take human knowledge to masses.
· Subject combinations: Examinations are not meant for testing memory/speed but to test the candidate’s knowledge. Combinations of subjects should be offered as per the choice of the students.
· No textbook but only syllabi: Educational boards should not suggest textbooks for the students but only provide the syllabi.

Advice for Principals
· Principals should “lead by examples.”
· A good leader should have honesty. The cause could be noble or worthwhile but without honesty, without keeping up the word and without being true to values, it loses its sheen. “Even when your vision seems unrealistic, people will follow you because of your integrity and honesty.”
· Principals should take responsibility for anything that happens in the school and not play “blame game.”
· The unseen talents of the teachers should be tapped by forming effective teams. “Empower formal and informal leaders. Trust and delegate responsibility.”
· Best practices should be researched for the oncoming days teaching and learning. The school should have “development plan in place for teachers and teachers.” Only by quality teaching the student learning can be improved and teachers should be encouraged to imbibe that habit.

A Word to the Teacher of Today
Be role models to guide them in shaping their destiny and not to let them go astray without “proper guidance and adequate care.”
· Practice what they preach as students constantly watch and follow all the actions.
· Be true inspiration and motivation to the students.
· Help them to enjoy a balanced school life “with fond memories of their times at the school.”

Student Note
Addressing students, Dr. Immanuel says “you are all young and like budding flowers… you must learn to understand life and the way it is to be led with discipline.”
· Any challenge should be viewed as an opportunity to learn.
· It is not just grades or marks that makes their life but developing a confident and truthful personality.
· Learn to see every action objectively, rationalize these, learn to differentiate between the good and bad and learn to develop sensitivity towards the world around you.
. Get Better with Time

Dr. Immanuel concludes, “Do your job better each time. Do it better than anyone else can do it. Do it better than it needs to be done. Let no one or anything stand between you and the difficult task. I know this sounds old-fashioned. It is, but it has built the world! “Create a culture of Excellence in your institutions.

For more information, please visit:
Dr. G. Immanuel
Chairman, CISCE