Wednesday, February 27, 2008

CBSE Exams 2008 for 10th and 12th Standard, sample questions related to HOTS

This is a "HOTS topic"...

One of the changes in the question paper pattern for this year’s 10th and 12th standard CBSE examinations is that a certain percentage of the questions would be based on higher order thinking skills (HOTS).

The CBSE has recently released sample questions related to HOTS on some subjects for the 10th and 12th standards.

The web links to the relevant documents are (for Std X and XII respectively):

The same links are also available from the welcome page on the CBSE website:

On behalf of all GIIS parents, we wish the best of luck for all students writing the 2008 CBSE Exams.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Preparing for French Language Exams

French is tough: Help me!
I'm a professional French language teacher from Mauritius and I currently tutor many Indian expats children studying in international schools in Singapore.

Recently, I have been getting many calls from concerned parents whose children who are either completely 'lost' in their French class or haven't been doing well in their French tests at GIIS.

Also, there are those students who have switched to French as they haven't been doing well in their mother tongue (Hindi, Tamil). These students need to catch up with what they've missed to be at par with what their classmates are learning.

Parents feel helpless since most of them do not what French language is all about, except that it shares the same English alphabets, has a number of similar English words, and all objects can be either masculine or feminine (just like in Hindi).

Many of the parents who call me at the last minute often tell me: " You just have to follow the book and cover the chapters that will come out". I'd like to remind those parents that learning a foreign language doesn't work this way. It is like assuming you can do an integration problem in Maths without having to know multiplication and division.

Why do students do so badly in French?
To my experience, most Indian students whom I have tutored lack a good foundation in the French language. Consequently, as far as the logic of the French language is concerned, they simply do not 'get it'. And I'm here talking about excellent students who have been scoring high marks in all their other subjects. So the problem must have something to do with the way the language is taught. The teaching methodology needs to be reconsidered.

I'd like to mention here that most French language teachers know only the direct method, i.e. using only the target language to teach, knowledge of the student's language being considered redundant.

Although still widely used, the direct method is being slowly replaced in modern education by Constructivism, where teachers build on what students already know. In the case of French, teachers can build on what students already know in English/Hindi/Tamil - think here of resulting motivation to know that you are not starting from zero, and what you already know is an asset that can be actively used.

I personally favor a constructivist approach to learning, be it for children or adults. For more information on my approach, check out my website:

Is there still hope?
Yes, there is still hope. In my 15 years of experience as a French language teacher, I find that Indian students are very talented and learn extremely fast. However, it is important to have the proper teaching/learning methodology to set up a good foundation, and build from there.

Getting French right from the start
The toughest part of the French language is the Pronunciation. So students need to learn the proper French pronunciation from a native speaker.

French is not a phonetical language. So, the way it is written is not the way it is spoken. In fact, most of the words that French share with English are pronounced in a completely different way. Nonetheless, an average learner can master the pronunciation in about 10 hours of private coaching (accent training).

It's good to mention here that French phonetics is very consistent, unlike English. Think of the different sounds that 'ough' can have in English (rough, though, through). To master French pronunciation, students need to learn French phonetics (phonics) - there is a grammar to it, and knowing that grammar unlocks the key to the logic of the language.

Beginner Level: 50 hours of learning
Using the proper learning/teaching methodology, it takes about 40-50 hours of learning to attain a lower Beginner Level. In other words, you can actually cover a one-year syllabus (for example, the book "Je parle Francais II by Dr Mehta" in just 40-50 hours of learning!

By Beginner Level, I mean the A1 level as stipulated by the European Commission on Foreign Languages (an international body that assesses proficiency levels). For French, this would be the DELF Junior A1 Level. A DELF Junior A2 level would be equivalent to the Cambridge GCE O Level standard.

Is French grammar difficult?
French grammar is a little more complicated than English. But grammar is like maths. You learn some formulas, and you apply them.

Perhaps the biggest challenge in learning any foreign language is memorizing unfamiliar words. But Indian students have no big difficulty with memorization; hundreds of years of traditional rote-learning have prepared them adequately to memorize words from any language, be it French or Russian or Chinese.

For those not used to rote-learning methods, there are of course less painful modern methods of memorizing French words, such as sound association (learning French from English).

I hope what I have contributed here will enlighten parents who are considering French as an option for their children, or parents with children facing difficulties in their French class.

For any queries or to add to this discussion, you can contact me:

Contributed by: Nageeb from Frenchfaster, Singapore (

Transport issues

If you have any further comments on Transport issues (previous post of 2/2/2008) please comment here. (Comments were blocked on that post).

Friday, February 15, 2008

How to make great teachers, Corruption in Indian Education, Higher Studies...

Here are some hand-picked articles for our readers. (Click on respective link to read )

Regulate fees of private schools: Knowledge panel [Times of India] This may well ring the death knell for private schools across the country. The National Knowledge Commission (NKC), a body of high-profile experts and intellectuals who have the government's and PM's ear, has called for regulation of admission and fees in the thousands of private institutions, which form about 15% of the total schools in India...

Cesspit of corruption behind India’s college facade [The Herald, UK] India is renascent and the coming economic superpower, churning out unrivalled university graduates and is already at the cutting-edge of technology. Or is it? ...

How to Make Great Teachers. : [Time Magazine] We never forget our best teachers—those who imbued us with a deeper understanding or an enduring passion, ...

The Million Dollar Question [Indian Express] Hundreds of students from the region go to different countries across the globe every year to study various courses. The lure of foreign degrees and subsequent PR (permanent residency) ...

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

World Maths Day 2008

It is heartening to know that GIIS has asked students in QT/EC/Balestier to take part in World Maths Day 2008.

We applaud this truly international opportunity presented to our kids - irrespective of whether it was the initiative of the new Maths HOD, or MoE, or progressive parents or other external parties.

From last year's World Maths Day (2007): One student who made the news locally was from Overseas Family School Singapore (placed #7 world-wide). SE-Asia top was the #1 (from Hong Kong). South Asia top (the #6) was from Pakistan.

We wish the students and the maths teachers a lot of fun and challenge in this learning process.

Our message to the young participants: Good luck ! It does not matter whether you win or lose. Give it your best shot ! Maths is great fun if you play with it long enough !!

[From Wikipedia Article : Teacher comments from 2007
"Wow! Kids loved it, teachers loved it. We want more." Mark Jackson, Langley Prep School – England.
“This event was a great success. Our students loved it and were quite addicted.”
Troy Wells, Harrow International School – China.
"It was a super experience for all the children involved. The anticipation and tension in the school when two pupils were competing against each other was electrifying.”
Stuart Poole, Rum Primary School – Scotland.
“The World Maths Day celebration in the school was a grand success. The children enjoyed the quiz at their fullest; it was an exciting event.”
Suvarna Kale, Choithram International – India.
“I have never seen my children so keen to do mental maths sums - what a brilliant event!”

Julie Delaney, Tudor Court Primary School – England.
Wow, that sounds like fun! - Ed. 13/2/2008]

Monday, February 11, 2008

Improvements Observed

Dear Parents, if you are pleased with any specific improvements seen and would like to express your appreciation, please add a comment accordingly below.

Friday, February 8, 2008

New Discipline System in Queenstown

QT MYGIIS web mail from Winston R Gomez, Principal, QT on 2/2/2008
Dear Parents,

Discipline in your child is a collaborative effort involving the School and the Parent.
Keeping this important principle in view, a new approach to address basic disciplinary
issues, based on a system of warning cards in order to effectively cooperate with
parents, is being implemented. Thus, you as parents will get to know the areas of
discipline which the school is currently addressing with your child.

The three types of warning cards which address three broad areas of discipline are:

RED WARNING CARD: This card will be issued to the student for slackness in academics,
neglecting assignments or homework, inattention or disruptive behavior in the class room
It issuance is a warning to students to improve in the above areas.

BLUE WARNING CARD : This card is issued as a warning for persistently poor
grooming/being out of uniform, by the Class Teacher. Parents are expected to sign this
card every day during its period of validity. The card is valid for a week.

YELLOW WARNING CARD : This card is issued by the Principal to the student in cases of
serious acts of indiscipline. If a student is issued three yellow cards during his/her
tenure in the school, he/she is liable to be expelled from the school.

We request the co-operation of parents in ensuring these systems are effectively
implemented, in order to inculcate awareness of discipline among our children.

With Regards,

Winston R. Gomez

GIIS Malaysia - Opening of 2nd campus

Important link for all GIIS Malaysia Parents: GIIS Malaysia Parents' Forum Blog
Essential Reading: our Documentation on Global Indian Foundation (GIF) 's handling of GIIS.
Please visit our HOME PAGE.

Received from Atul Temurnikar, Chairman and CEO 5/2/2008.

Dear Parents,

It is with great pleasure we wish to inform you that GIIS Malaysia
would be opening their 2nd campus in Kuala Lumpur from April 2008.
The second campus would serve as the MIDDLE and HIGH school, and
the present campus would continue to host the Kindergarten and PRIMARY

The 2nd campus would enable GIIS Malaysia to increase its total
student strength to 1300, from its present strength of 650.
Just as the 1st campus, the 2nd GIIS campus is also very centrally
located at KL Sentral, at less than 0.5km from the present campus.
KL Sentral is Kuala Lumpur’s one and only KLIA Express, train,
LRT, Metro & Bus interchange, which is just 5 mins walk from
the GIIS campus.

The GIIS Malaysia’s new 3 acre campus has lush green surroundings,
an auditorium, and sports facilities such as cricket &
soccer grounds, basketball etc.

We are delighted to announce the appointment of Mr. Ashok Raj,
as the Vice Principal of GIIS Malaysia. Mr. Ashok is a leading
senior educator & Head of the Department from Bala Vidya
Mandir (Chennai), one of Chennai’s renowned CBSE school.
Mr. Ashok will head the 1st campus and report to GIIS Malaysia
Principal Mrs. Suniti Sharma.

Let us extend our best wishes to the entire GIIS team of teachers
& management for opening of their 2nd campus, and also wish
them a very Happy Chinese New Year.

With warm regards,
Atul Temurnikar
Chairman & CEO
Global Indian Int’l Schools

GIIS Announcement - 'Feb 08 Update'

From : GIIS Announcement
Date : 5/2/2008 (dd/mm/yyyy)
Subject : Feb 08 Update

Dear Parents,

1. GIF & GIIS wishes all its Chinese parents & well wishers, a very Happy Chinese New Year. Our GIIS students too would get a glimpse of CNY. The East Coast campus has organized a special CNY celebration for students and residents of Siglap, and would be graced by presence of Mr. Chan Soo Sen, MP for East Coast.

2. Our Balestier campus has got off to a smooth start and now houses some 800+ students of Nursery to Std 2. The new campus which can be seen while driving on PIE, has sparked a new life in the Jalan Rajah area. We also experienced shortage of school buses in Singapore, for first time, on account of increased driver salaries, fuel costs etc, and managed with special Maxicabs deployed by Comfort Delgro. The shortage which prevailed for 4 to 8 days on some routes, has now been overcome with additional buses been deployed. The bus transporters have requested us to convey to parents, to extend them cooperation with regards to defining the bus stops.

3.PriceWaterhouseCoopers or PWC – GIF has appointed PWC to advise GIF on compliances to the new guidelines (RAP56) laid down by charities commissioner. While the guidelines are more pertaining to Charities which draw public funds on regular basis, we thought it would still prudent to have PWC review all our internal structures & processes and ensure that all GIF/GIIS entities are fully compliant. Also PWC is being appointed as Auditors across the region for various GIIS operations in other countries.

4. Sir Andy JK Chande, Chairman of Barclay’s Bank in Tanzania, has joined our International Advisory Board. He would be advising the foundation on aspects of development in the South African region.

With this brief update, once again, I wish all our Chinese friends and colleagues, a very happy Chinese New Year.

With warm regards,
Atul Temurnikar

About Sir JK Chande, Member, International Advisory Board, Global Indian Foundation

Dr Jayantilal Keshavji Chande KBE also known as Sir Andy Chande (born May 7,1928), is a prominent Tanzanian businessman, philanthropist and a freemason.

He is the Chairman of the Board of Governors of Shaaban Robert Secondary School and President of the Dar es Salaam Secondary Education Society.

He received the President’s Golden Century Citation from Rotary International for his continued dedication and commitment in 1995/1996. He has also received the ‘Service Above Self’ award in 1998 from Rotary International in recognition of his years of work for the foundation. In 2003 he was appointed as a trustee of the Rotary Foundation and in 2004 appointed as Chairman of the Rotary Foundation of the United Kingdom.

In 2003 he received the ‘Hind Ratna’ award from I.K. Gujral, the former Indian Prime Minister. The International Congress of Non-Resident Indians (NRI) then declared him to be the ‘non-Resident Indian of the year’. He was also given the Pride of India Gold Award by the NRI Institute in London.

He was made an Honorary Knight Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire on the 29th of August 2003, the first of its kind given to a Tanzanian citizen.

On 9th January 2005, The President of India, Dr APJ Abdul Kalam honoured him with the prestigious Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Award.

On 10 August 2007, the swahili translation of his book A Knight in Africa (Shujaa Katika Afrika: Safari Kutoka Bukene) was launched at the Shaaban Robert Secondary School hall, by President of Tanzania, Jakaya Kikwete. Other prominent figures in attendance included:
2nd President of Tanzania, Ali Hassan Mwinyi
3rd President of Tanzania, Benjamin Mkapa
The Canadian High Commissioner to Tanzania, Dr Andrew McAliste

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Higher Education in India

The missing edge: Reforming higher education
2 Feb, 2008, 0513 hrs IST, Ambika Naithani & Shreya Biswas, TNN

Fifteen years back a Swedish steel company quoted Rs 30 crore for selling a technology to Steel Authority of India Ltd (SAIL). Indian Institute of Science (IISC), Bangalore and Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Madras analysed the process and their elementary analysis revealed that the technology was not up to the mark. The next day the price dropped to Rs 15 crore. “Such is the power of higher education,” says MS Ananth, director, IIT Madras.

Unfortunately, higher education in India has lost its edge. There is little innovation — thanks to too little investment, ill-devised regulatory framework, and lack of relevance. None of these problems are difficult to fix and at least one step towards all this was taken last week. The government decided to invite suggestions to revamp the All India Council of Technical Education (AICTE). In some ways, AICTE’s approach symbolises many of the wrongs.

It is opposed to joint degrees by Indian and Western universities...

(Read further at The Economic Times, India )

Transport Issues

[Restored version. Original post of 3/1/2008 was taken down due to abuse -Ed ]
Welcome back ! A very Happy New Year to all !

Let us begin 2008 by making a database of transport issues/suggestions/solutions for further brainstorming.

What are the different transport issues faced by parents ?

[Updated 30/1/2008: A comment which was not in good taste was made by someone on this page today. The person responsible may have been extremely frustrated, but we consider this an abuse so we are disabling this page immediately.

P.S. We DO NOT normally wish to do this kind of intervention, so please be mature and responsible so that you will be left free to express your views and opinions here. ]

[Updated 1/2/2008: Sorry about keeping this page offline for several days. We have explained our reasons. The other 14 comments are now rescued and will appear below].

LUCKY said...

why take on transport...why not solve academics first if u can

(Except that $577 is too high for the bus service... and for that we have to talk to T & G and not to school, right ?

Also I am sure T & G is not reading this blog. (if the bus auntie/driver could understand basic English I would b happier !!! but it is unfair to expect them to read blogs)

so.. since school is reading this blog n making some improvements i think it is better be focussed on the school part first

that is my 2 cents...

last but not least.. thanks for the good job so far and hope to see more results in 2008

happy new year to all out there

can improve said...

sorry I disagree with 'LUCKY' parent: bus service is very important issue for small kids.

driver/helper can't understand English.

my KG child put on the wrong bus more than once. Scary for her

t&g e-mail communication is very basic, misinterpreting

some buses always late for assembly

non hygenic buses, some belts missing, broken

improper routing (route anyhow)

not given proper first aid in bus

very hard to solve bus problems

IMPORTANT: fee $577 per semester for this is too much !!!

i agree said...

I agree too.

T&G staff, driver and bus aunties are not customer oriented, sometimes rude and seen scolding parents.

School messes up bus service during exam time.

Last year during exam time, parents were not informed about changes in drop off location and timing.

Some small kids had to walk quite a bit to get home. This was informed thru school to T&G, but the next 3 days it repeated.

T&G did nothing for 3 days although request came thru school. Issues are known to PSG but they also did nothing. (Since PSG is volunteers I am not right to complain about their inaction but it is a let down).

LUCKY said...

dont get me wrong. i said transport is no. 2 item

but you can always call t & g direct, tel- 64765609

u can even scold them, but for academics no such thing,Asia.html

T&G Bus Transport Contractor
1 Mei Chin Rd Singapore 149253
Tel: 64765609

it has always been so said...

T & G's services have always been much below the desired level. Bad language and rough treatment of children,frequent change of driver and aunty and total lack of punctuality.On any given day, you will find 15 to 20 buses coming in after assembly- e.g my son misses 4 out of 5 assembly sessions, I have complained but of no use. If you talk to the drivers you get to know that more then 90% of the buses and vans are on sub-contract and are poorly paid or paid late by T & G. T & G ,in turn will tell you that they are tightly squeezed by the school. So, as long as the school expects transport to be a money making unit, the sad state of affairs will continue.

need t&g e-mail said...

anybody knows about T&g email ? do they have own email address ? or only from school's ??? (i don't mean with no @ like mygiis but real email with @ like vice principals email address )

or u mean i can only use my giis to contact t&g ?

mygiis email sucks.
why not let everybody use own email, this is 2008 bhai.

waiting for t&g email id

rocketfuel said...

My child is very young - 6 yrs old, and was put in the wrong bus many times specially at the beginning of the term. She is a timid child, and is very quiet, so this would have been extremely scary for her.

On top of that, I would get called by the bus driver from some far off location saying my child was in their bus, and can she be dropped off somewhere there? And I should come over and pick her up. What?!?

$577 for this nonsense?

What's worse is no one at T&G seems to understand basic English. When I call, they say "send a mail". When I send a mail they still screw up. Should we all go down there with a large parang to get a proper response?

Anonymous said...

i guess u joking, rocketfuel about going there with a large something. u probably speak out of frustration... but can be misinterpreted..

Below is a post on Singapore Expats Forum by 'Superglide'

Posted: Fri Oct 12, 2007 3:37 pm Post subject: Talking about left, right, anywhere:

I was just riding my bike, leaving home on the way to ecp. In the street around our corner, on the middle of the road, the bus driver of the Global Indian School bus, license numberplate 6308C, decided to stop suddenly. Lets a kid exit in front of her place.

He could have parked on the left side of the road, in front of her house, would even have been safer for the kid, but no, the middle of the road, blocking me.

A bit further I overtake him and then had to wait at the end of the next road, in front of a traffic light. Red light. Same bus driver arrives, still red light. He squeezes on my left and simply decides to cross the junction, RED LIGHT... Shocked

For 30 seconds I was thinking of whether I should go after him and make him understand what a complete [word deleted] moron he is. Decided not to, I am afraid I would have headbutted him.

I am still thinking of going to the school and file a complaint against this idiot, making sure he loses the job.

Imagine it is your kid, being driven by this complete moron.

Anonymous said...

it is better to deal through school n not direct. thats why they r not making email public. also T&G can be more nasty than school, my 2 cents.

Parents Caucus said...

The following is an e-mail we have just received from PSG (QT). We believe it is in response to Balestier parents who had faced transport problems when the new campus had just opened.

Hi ,

PSG will take up this matter with the school at next weeks meeting with them...However, we need to know the exact nature of the problem for taking up the issue. Please respond on this matter giving us details of the problems faced by parents regarding transport. We rely on parent feedback to try and resolve problems...We can even organise a meeting with you parents to fully understand your concerns..Suggest if this is o.k. and we can organise a venue and time for meeting...

Best Regards,

Dear QT PSG,

Thank you for responding !

Kindly get a Google ID (GMAIL ID) so that your comments (and posts) are visible as PSG. Please post directly. If you email contributions or responses to us, there will be definitely some delay in getting posted, until a blog volunteer goes online. When you have your GMAIL ID ready then we will add you as a member so that you can post under your own name (PSG).

Dear Parents,

Please provide the information asked for. We will post results as available and continue to track.

(One small issue however is whether QT PSG will be involved in Balestier transport issues... but you all can sort that out!)

Are the initial Balestier transport problems still continuing or now smoothened out ?? Balestier parents, please update us.

[Update 14 Feb 2008: That was the first and last message from PSG. Nothing has been heard ever since. Almost a month has passed since we invited them, to grab their own Google ID and come in and blog as PSG (instead of as Anonymous), and we are still waiting. This is really unfortunate. Also, we are curious to hear PSG say that "they need to know the exact nature of the issue before taking this up", which means they were not aware of these transport problems. Perhaps this is because it was mainly a Balestier affair. But then, the affected parents were ex-QT parents ! Or perhaps it was because the PSG members were themselves not affected ! Why is it that the QT PSG did not know what every other parent knows ? Is there a PSG for Balestier, or is there none ? If there is one, is it again being nominated by the school in secrecy ? And if yes, what is the deal ? What co-operation and access does the school offer to them ? We have no answers as yet ! - Ed.]

Anonymous said...

I do not wish to sound pessimistic.But the lack of response to all the good work that this blog has been doing tells you that the school's management does not care much for feedback and opinion. What we have been witnessing is lies, hypocracy, doctoring of facts,calumny on those who do not toe the line etc.,But let us keep trying

ks said...

Balestier transport problem shd be attended by Balestier principal or staff. We are paying high bus fees to school so that school staff can ensure quality and prompt service. If we pay direct to T&G bus fee would have been cheaper but then we don't know how to talk with T&G (non english speaking.. uniquely s'pore problems). That is why you are paying premium. School better sort out the problem and not deflect it back to T&G.

stupid parent said...

To: psg
Re: Your letter in previous to previous comment

PSG, You say you are meeting school next week. Nice surprise ! Are you going as representative of all parents? (or who do you represent?? or are you like a NMP) If you represent me too please inform school that parents are extremely happy and overjoyed by school.

Anonymous said...


The Transportation is entirely managed by the school. I have complained umpteen times of total disorganization of this Trash_N_Garbage transport system. So many messages are recd for transportation arrangement.. If you reply to the text messages to the drivers number given.I got screwed by a Stinkaporean for sending messages to his mobile and calling his number early in the morning get scolded like kanna backside open. I feel it is completely lunatic to complain to the TnG management as the Transport system is managed by the school. My daughter has been reaching late to school always does not even get to attend assemblies. Teachers are also mum...they cannot scold the students for coming late ha ha ha. Good money making business by the school collecting money for a quarter and provide pathetic service. Drivers are changed, irregular time to pick up/ drop. My wife happened to miss the bus inspite of her reaching 5 mins earlier than pick up time, but the driver reached earlier and did not even bother to wait/call he just zoomed past and I had to send my daughter to school on my motorbike.....TnG is just a peice GIIS trash. I don't blame TnG management, but the GIIS TurnMuNicker for greedily controlling the Transport and filling his pockets.

Anonymous said...