ICSE council set to revisit one-acre rule

The Telegraph , Calcutta, June 9 , 2012 : The Council for Indian School Certificate Examinations (CISCE) has decided to review its affiliation policy following an assessment that the requirement for a minimum one-acre campus was preventing new schools from coming up in big cities such as Calcutta.

“There is a need to review our policies relating to the grant of affiliation so that more good ICSE and ISC schools come up,” Gerry Arathoon, the CISCE chief executive and secretary, told The Telegraph.

The council will set up a review committee this month to examine whether it is possible to relax the minimum land requirement for those looking to open ICSE and ISC schools in big cities, where big plots are scarce.

It is also likely to examine whether two nearby schools can share facilities such as playgrounds.

“But we will not lower the minimum (land) requirement to such an extent that it encourages the establishment of substandard schools with inadequate facilities,” a CISCE source said.

The subject was discussed at the two-day annual conference of the Bengal chapter of the Association of Heads of ICSE Schools in Chalsa, Jalpaiguri. The meeting ended today.

“The council has set a target of increasing the number of ICSE and ISC schools from 1,900 to 5,000 in the country over the next five years. But every institution should be of high academic standards,” Arathoon told the conference today.

Calcutta has the most ICSE and ISC schools — around 120 in the city proper — in the country. The demand for good ICSE and ISC schools in Calcutta is still “very high”, council sources said.

“But the unavailability of big plots in the city is one of the major challenges,” a source said.

According to the council’s existing rules, a one-acre plot is a must to set up a school that has all three streams at the Plus-2 level. (See chart)

“Since the majority of the existing schools were set up before 2006, nearly 75 per cent of the 300-plus ICSE and ISC schools in Bengal do not fulfil the one-acre campus criterion,” the council source said.

Nabarun Dey, general secretary of the association and principal of Central Modern School in north Calcutta, stressed the need for the council to be “judicious”.

A no-objection certificate (NOC) is a must for setting up an ICSEISC or CBSE school. The affiliation is granted by the respective board only after receiving the state NOC. The government grants the certificate only if the schools comply with the affiliation rules.

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