Very recently, the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) introduced Continuous and Comprehensive Evaluation System (or CCE) into Schools following Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) pattern.
The CCE which was formulated under the then HRD Minister Kapil Sibbal aims to decrease the stress faced by students due to exams and ensure that a comprehensive learning programme is followed throughout the student life of the child.Under CCE, CBSE schools may build their own customized flexibility schedules in order to produce successful students via achieving excellence by adhering to certain CCE guidelines.
Impact of CCE?
The first step taken within CCE in CBSE Schools is to introduce a grading system into effect replacing the age old marks based system. The new student mark sheet will be a broad sheet where student is awarded a CCE Certificate in which grades are on the basis of their performance in the curriculums as well as extra-curricular activities. The grading system will also mean that a student scoring 95 marks will get the same grade as the child with 100. In short, the CCE system aims to promote learning rather than mugging because it not only reduces the number of chapters the students have to study but also carries out a phased learning process through a continuous and comprehensive combination of project work and assignments.
Given the new guidelines, there is a huge opportunity to upgrade CBSE schools to the new system and New Delhi based Green Apple Solutions has launched CCESoft, a SAAS based solutions for schools to adapt the new guidelines from CBSE.
We did a QnA with Akhil Gupta, cofounder of CCEsoft and their approach towards selling the SAAS product to CBSE schools.
What’s the problem statement you are solving? Why would schools adapt this software?
As you must be aware, recently CBSE introduced Continuous and Comprehensive Evaluation System (CCE) guidelines for all CBSE affiliated schools.In a nutshell what this means is that it shifts the focus from intermittent examinations to continuous grading of a student hence relieving the students of the pressures pertaining to “exams” and “performance”. Under these guidelines the schools are free to create their own schedules and grade students using methods of their own choice as long as they follow the guidelines. As a part of this initiative only, the board exams for class X became optional for CBSE affiliated students
Earlier the schools only needed to keep records for the students appeared in the exams per annum (3-4 times) and that was sufficient to produce the end of year report card of the student. But with the introduction of CCE, the schools have to now maintain a lot of data pertaining to activities/class tests/general assessment for students. The process has become a lot more data centric and this data is extremely sensitive as any error of calculation/approximation could seriously affect a child’s future. CCESoft solution provides following features that greatly benefit school
- Complete CBSE compliance – The output from the software can be directly uploaded to the CBSE portal without the need to manually change it or even worse use the extremely poor quality software provided by CBSE.
- Automate the whole grading process to the last step. The final output of the system is the report card (in the exact prescribed CBSE format) that can simply be printed and distributed.
- Maintain sanity checks on the data entered. Extensive validations, rules and logics have been implemented to ensure that random/human errors do not creep in and invalidate the data.
- Delegation of work based on roles and responsibilities. Authorization is a standard part of any good software and CCESoft does it very well. We have also ensures that the work can be assigned to individual teachers and put in checks that they can change/update their assigned fields only. This reduces the chances of human error which might creep in if one single person is taking care of data entry.
- Since most of the teachers are well versed in excel the input to the system is taken in the form of excel only. We have made this process easier too by generating input excels with only those cells editable that actually need to be edited.
- Error Free reporting – All these checks and convenience leads to error free reporting in the form of report cards (customizable) and broadsheets.
- Web Based software that can be accessed from anywhere.
- Hosted SAAS based service- which means in case any new changes are introduced by CBSE tomorrow they will be handled by us and will reach all the schools without any physical delay.
- Appropriate pricing – The software costing is on a per student basis which means a smaller school can still adopt the system without having to pay a fortune.
- Complete Technical Independence – No hardware, servers required, no downtime due to delay in physical assistance, access from anywhere.
These are the key functions that the schools are looking for in the system. The system has a lot of other features like student login, assignment integration, SMS alerts etc.
What has been the traction so far?
CCESoft just came out of private beta very recently during which time it was being run in 6 different schools of Delhi of different sizes (in terms of student count). The software completed one complete term at every school and we are happy to share that we have not faced any issues what so ever that could deter us coming out of beta. We have recently started marketing the software using online channels only but since the requirement of this service is so high that our website is getting at least 2-3 enquires (organic) every day and we are currently in implementation stage at 4 new schools. To summarize the traction has been extremely encouraging and as per our expectations.
How are schools reacting to this, after all they are more comfortable with desktop based MS office products.
We had the exact same concerns when we were doing our market research and until the time we launched the beta but surprisingly the schools have reacted extremely good toward the software and there is literally (I mean literally) no instance so far when a school was not impressed by the system. The parent company (Green Apple Solutions) has a lot of experience in providing Custom Software Solutions and Open Source Implementations and we are fully aware that we would face “resistance to introduction of new technology” but that only happens at the implementation level where teachers might (they don’t ? )resist to learning something new. We have drastically reduced that by keeping them in their comfort zone.
They still maintain the data in MS excel format and do not have to do data entry in the system. The Excels, as I mentioned earlier, are specifically designed to minimize redundancy and errors. You would be surprised to know that still a large percentage of teachers are not very comfortable with MS Excel and we have taken that in consideration. We have made the process as intuitive and simple as possible so that individual teachers can update their data and feel comfortable with the system. In our experience we feel that any system will die/phase out if it is not being used by the end customer or even worse the end user feels the need to hire someone specifically to work on the system. CCESoft has been specifically being designed keeping this in mind.
CBSE schools being present all across the country we are getting a lot of enquiries every day. This introduces a geographical constrain in the terms that though we can give (and have been giving) demos using screen sharing softwares and complete all the formalities up to implementation without visiting schools physically, the Indian education system (at least at school level) has not yet matured yet to make transactions without physical meetings. To overcome this hurdle we are looking forward to gaining strategic partners in various locations who can help us reach schools in even the remotest regions of India. Their jobs would be to provide physical assistance (if any) in terms of training and query resolution. The software hosting, maintenance and up-gradation would be handled by CCESoft core team only.
Also on request of many of our current clients we are developing an offshoot of CCESoft with a lot more bells and whistles attached to it. It is going in the direction of becoming a complete School Management System which will automate all the processes of the school. Though we are aware this market is almost saturated with almost every IT firm having school management software, there are still only a few software that a school will actually want to use. The “Convention over Configuration” approach that has been used in CCESoft is being used here as well so that schools/teachers/students can adopt the new system very easily.