The term “innovative schools” is doing rounds ever since the new CBSE bye laws are announced. The new CBSE regulation simplifies the process of starting a CBSE school and implementing alternative educational methodologies in India by granting the composite affiliation to innovative schools.
In the light of these developments, we need to clarify the concept of innovative schools and have tried to echo the board’s interpretation in this article.
The question that is recurring since the announcement in the interested minds is what exactly the innovative schools are and wherefrom they did derive the importance to find a favorable reference in the amended bye-laws. It is not out of place to ask where were the innovative schools before the declaration and what do they signify? Let’s look at what innovative schools mean and the pedagogical relevance thereof -
The innovative schools often referred to as “alternative schools” are the institutions where academics have an experimental orientation and the pedagogy is anchored in educational- psychological theories which have departed from the convention and made a dent before either being committed to obscurity or getting dismissed as a fad. The well known alternative educational methodologies include Reggio Emilia, Steiner, Vikasana, Pickler, Montessori, Theory of Multiple Intelligences (MI).
The most popular pedagogical models by far are Montessori Method and MI. These two pedagogical movements have stood their ground amidst the allegations of lack of academic probity and even quackery.
By now we have made it clear that there are differences in pedagogical models between innovative schools and the conventional schools.
Observant people have seen and appreciated the need for a model of schooling which have revolutionary pedagogical features but at the same time declared them impracticable for public education.
Having said that, the school promoters who are exposed to alternative school education through their stint in the developed countries or independent thought have advocated elements of innovative education in general and particularly in early childhood education.
Resultantly, there has been a rise in the number of innovative schools, however, it will be too early to say that the trend of alternative schools is catching up. Nonetheless, with the national education boards like CBSE backing the innovation in education, cognizance in the mainstream CBSE, ICSE, IGCSE, IB schools are paving the way for alternative methodologies.
Our prognosis for innovative schools is diametrically opposite to the ones who see innovative education as exotic - Innovative schooling will see a revival, the amends made in the CBSE affiliation bye laws is a welcome step.
The provision for the composite affiliation of innovative school is a progressive and proactive step to encourage their prevalence. The grant of composite affiliation for the Innovative School has undoubtedly given credentials to the alternative schooling.
The current development
The CBSE rightly acknowledged the mainstreaming of innovative schools by opening the gates of certificate examinations thru composite affiliation for 9 to 12 and 9 to 10. The cognizance for the innovative schools has come only recently but the realization that every child has an innate potential which deserves to be nurtured is age-old. I have talked about the procedure to start a CBSE school in accord with the new CBSE affiliation bye laws in a separate article, click here to read.
The innovative school are not basically to keep the status quo they are to invent a pedagogical design which set the bridled brilliance in every child free and turn him into a contributor.
With the declaration made by the CBSE board regarding the innovative schools, their precise attributes are in order.
An Innovative School is a public school that approaches education from a new perspective. Although there are many types of Innovative/alternative methodologies of education, they all share a set of common characteristics:
How are Innovative Schools selected?
The school will be officially called innovative if it has ---
A pedagogical approach which departs from the instructive learning without the expense of information or basic skills that the student is supposed to have depended upon their age.
If the alternative educational philosophy denies generalized IQ as a measure of cerebral capacity, then it must come up with a convincing practical result that is achieved by students which are not obviously expected with the children falling within an IQ band.
How are Innovative Schools recognized?
The recognition of the innovative schools has not been drastically different from the recognition process of other schools. For example, the schools professing Montessori Method are ubiquitous. Their authenticity as Montessori is dubious though. The school can use the learning methods based on different educational philosophies but the assessment is not in the hands of the independent pedagogue running the school. The assessment or the examination will be taken by students which are the same ones taken by conventional school students.
The declaration of CBSE policy to grant composite affiliation to the innovative schools implies that the students from these schools will now be able to sit for the board exams and their results will be the best possible advertisement of the education philosophy they had studied under, be it Multiple Intelligences or Montessori.
The model of innovative schooling has been tried with astounding success in the countries of South East Asia the students of which leave their mark in the international academic assessments/examinations. Besides that, the proclivity towards research and inquiry is found to be high.
Schooling is getting standardized across the world thanks to globalization. It is assumed that it will turn the education objective and validate the school exam certificate issued by any organization across the world.
The alternative or innovative schooling votaries have an unwavering opinion that the education should be individualized as far as possible within an institutional setup.
Founder & Consultant - School Serv
Vinod Kakumanu heads a team of school services professionals and is an independent commentator on Indian school education scenario. Vinod has assisted school promoters establish 35+ schools besides providing ancillary services to over 1000 schools across India. He envisions a future where quality education is made available to every child of the country. The focus he places on the quality of the deliverables and customer satisfaction has made him renowned in the field of K-12 school education.