NEW DELHI: The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) will offer skill courses as an additional sixth subject for classes 6 to 11 from 2020-21 academic session, officials said on Tuesday.
"At the secondary level, a skill subject may be offered as an additional subject along with the existing five compulsory subjects. The board has decided to offer students the flexibility of making a vocational choice of a short duration module of 12 hours at a stage in their early academic career, either at class 6, 7 or 8," Biswajit Saha, CBSE's Director Training and Skill Education, said.
"In this way, they will be able to spend a relevant time period pursuing this choice as per the convenience of school, while benefitting from access to courses that are broader based," he said.
Saha said that this would give students the necessary orientation early on so that they are able to make a choice at a later stage to pursue skill courses at secondary and senior secondary level, or choose a higher vocational degree.
In essence this flexibility will keep multiple career possibilities open for each student, instead of the current situation of rigidity once the first choice is made, he added.
As per the existing CBSE policy, if any student fails in any one of the three elective subjects -- Science, Mathematics and Social Science -- then it will be replaced by the skill subject offered as the sixth subject and a result of class 10 will be computed based on the best five subjects.
However, if a candidate desires to appear in the failed subject, he or she may appear along with the compartment examination.
"The draft New Education Policy 2019 has clearly stated that there should be 'no hard separation' between curricular, co-curricular and extra-curricular or academic and vocational or physical education.
The updating of the National Curriculum Framework (NCF) in the near future will make it possible for the board to remove such separations," Saha said.
"However, for the present, it is felt that mainstreaming all forms of learning and skills will integrates not just the hands-on skilling component but also the theoretical knowledge, attitudes and mindsets, and soft skills that are required for particular occupations, through a broad-based education that is necessary for students to be able to take on and thrive in a fast-changing world.
"This will contribute to the economic goals of the nation in multiple ways, developing the capacities and dispositions of individuals for economic independence, including employment and entrepreneurship," he added.
The board is already offering 17 skill subjects at the secondary level and 37 skill subjects at the senior secondary level to upgrade the skills and proficiency of young generation and also to provide them awareness to explore various career options.
More than eight lakh students are presently studying skill subjects at the secondary and the senior secondary level in 8,543 CBSE schools.
"At the middle level (classes 6 to 8), one skill module of 12 hours duration could be offered as an option to students for single academic session as per the convenience of schools.
Students are free to opt skill module either at classes 6, 7 or 8.
"Therefore, schools are requested to consider choosing any one or more skill courses for the students of classes 6 to 8 start offering the same from the academic session 2020-21 onwards.
The board will provide necessary support and guidance towards training and capacity building of teachers and other aspects for successful implementation of all skill subjects from time to time," Saha said.