Emphasis on creativity, not cramming

The National Curriculum Framework (NCF), approved by the Central Advisory Board of Education has suggested to make Class X board examination optional. It has also suggested radical changes in evaluating the students.

A shift from content-based cramming to problem-solving skills and analytical reasoning is indeed a welcome move. This will discourage kids who wish to limit themselves to hardcore cramming.

Among many changes, a reduction in the duration of tests and their format has been suggested. Less focus on written answers and more on multiple-choice questions need to be encouraged. Unlike now, evaluation has become a continuing process, but with less focus on memorising texts. School stress is on cognitive abilities and aptitude of the student. Once the examinations become less demanding, there will be no strain on the students.

The real issue is the acute shortage of institutions that can address the needs and aspirations of brilliant students. They need to be “created” urgently. The students’ urge and aspiration to study in such institutions should not be nipped by having stressful elimination tests.





The suggestion to make English mandatory from Class I in all streams of education is most welcome. For this, the primary schools need a suitable cost-effective infrastructure and competent manpower for teaching English.

As the medium of instruction in these schools is predominantly vernacular, the rural students become handicapped in their endeavour to seek higher education in professional colleges and for competing in various exams, where a certain degree of proficiency in English is required.

While politicians and other well-off sections of society manage to send their children to prestigious English-medium schools, the rural children, in the absence of requisite communication skills and knowledge of English, lag behind in every walk of life. Consequently, there is an urgent need to help rural students compete effectively with their urban counterparts in various spheres of life.



The decision to abolish Class X board examination is unjust. The CBSE has fairly standardised such examinations. These examinations do test the preparation of the students. Accordingly, these provide a reasonably fair scale for further admissions to different streams or for entering the job market. I wonder what would be the parameter in the absence of any such examination.

Internal assessment would create more controversies due to the possibility of lack of fairness. At present, examinees and parents do have faith in the standard as well as fairness of CBSE exams, in spite of a few aberrations. The parents need to motivate children and provide them moral as well as psychological fillip during their formative stage. Examinations will have to be faced and Class X is neither too early nor too late to take the bull by the horn.

OM P. SHARMA, Palampur (HP)


The decision to make Class X board examination optional is absolutely wrong. How can you evaluate the certificates given by different schools for merit? The education in different schools is not uniform. Even recommendations and bias play a great role.

A common Class X examination is a must to judge the merit of the students not only for further studies but also getting jobs and showing their worth. Only one common examination is the real criteria. No option should be given to schools in different states. Let the CBSE and ICSE conduct a common examination in all the states.

R.N. PAL, Hisar

Fringe benefit tax

The recent circular No. 8 of Aug 29, 2005 by the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) has rightly excluded certain items of expenditure from the fringe benefit tax (FBT). However, there are many contradictions in the CBDT’s stand. For example, reimbursement of expenditure on food in the office is not treated as incurred by the employer and thus FBT is levied. On the contrary, the government prefers to treat reimbursement of expenses of a driver’s salary as expenditure incurred by the employer.

The Finance Ministry should follow a consistent approach. All items of reimbursement should be treated as the employers’ expenses, whether FBT is levied or not. There is a need to raise the corporate tax rate to the original figure and forget FBT altogether. This will help rationalise and simplify the income tax law, which is the professed aim of the Union Finance Ministry.

R.N. LAKHOTIA, New Delhi


Andhra CM’s gesture

Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y. Rajasekhar Reddy has allowed the demolition of his house for a road-widening project in Hyderabad. He has thus set a precedent for all others to follow. Had there been a similar situation in Punjab and Haryana, the alignment of the site plan would have been changed for one reason or the other. The political bosses should follow Dr Reddy’s example.


Army commander

I refer to the report “Army Commander faces disciplinary action” (Aug 15). The officer designated as Army Commander is actually a Colonel in the Intelligence branch.

The designation of Army Commander is very selective. In the Army, General Officers Commanding-in-Chief are designated as Army Commanders. Commanders at various levels in the chain of command are appropriately designated. For instance, a Unit Commander is known as Commanding Officer (CO), a Brigade Commander as Commander, a General Officer Commanding of a Division or a Corps is called GOC.

Brig H.S. CHANDEL (retd), Una


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