Revised CBSE syllabus is swaying between boon and bane

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With the of Secondary Education () reducing 30% of the curriculum for classes IX-XII for the academic session 2020-21, the debate has erupted if the chapters have been removed mindfully or the reduction will lead to compromised learning. From English to Political Science and Mathematics to Psychology, the board has completely removed several chapters along with bits and pieces of topics.

Students should not miss out

When it comes to reducing almost one-third of the syllabus, some topic or the other will have to face the cut. Anurag Tripathi, secretary, CBSE, tells Education Times that no topic or chapters have been removed in a way that students will miss out on the core concepts. “CBSE subject committees consist of academicians, experts and teachers, who studied the syllabus to remove only those topics that are either being repeated or students have studied in previous classes,” says Tripathi.

He adds, “The chapters on secularism and caste in class XI have been completely removed, not to deprive students of these concepts, but because they have already studied them in class VIII.”

Unfair reduction of topics

Several academicians, politicians and public figures have opposed the removal of “vital topics” from the syllabus. , former chairman of the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) calls it a “hastily done job”.

“The reduction of topics such as demonetisation and GST is unfortunate, but it is plain pruning. Every curriculum has its intrinsic coherence and the reduction will affect the learning. Though it is a move to have a syllabus that can be covered in a shorter period, it still is a hastily done job,” says Kumar.

While the whole world is moving towards developing social and emotional skills, the board has completely removed the chapter on ‘Motivation and Emotion’ from the Psychology syllabus of class XI, while the chapter on ‘Developing Psychological Skills’ has been removed from class XII. “The board could have done away with the theory and retained the conceptual part. The current pandemic has emphasised the need for students to understand emotional wellbeing as it is a major part of mental health,” says Roomana Siddiqui, professor and chairman, Department of Psychology, Aligarh Muslim University (AMU).

The board has also removed chapters on secularism, nationalism, citizenship and India’s relations with its neighbours. “Given the recent events such as the one in Galwan valley and the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019, it is imperative for students to understand the intricacies of citizenship and international relations. Political Science students at UG and PG level still study secularism. Removing a chapter from class XI because a student has studied it in class VIII is farce rationalisation,” says Omprakash Mishra, head, department of International Relations, who has also served in the National Security Advisory board to the Prime Minister.

Similarly, the Indian Society of Evolutionary Biologists (ISEB) has expressed concerns over the revised syllabi for classes IX to XII as chapters on reproduction in organisms, the anatomy of plants and animals, pollution and climate change and its mitigation.

Right efforts with detailed instructions

While some academicians are unhappy with the decision, others are equally hopeful. , educationist and former principal of Delhi Public School (DPS), RK Puram, New Delhi, says that education is a lifelong process and cannot be defined by a topic or two. “I can vouch for the reduction in English syllabus that the board has done a wonderful job and provided detailed instructions to teachers on how to teach. The usefulness of the retained content has also been thoroughly explained,” she says.

Some of the reduced topics and chapters

Class IX: Use of Passive Voice, Clauses: noun, adverb clauses of condition and time, Food security, Democratic rights and Population

Class X: Print culture and the modern world, Water resources, Mineral and energy resources, Gender, Religion and Caste

Class XI: Statistical tools and interpretation: Measures of dispersion, Motivation and Emotion, Citizenship, Nationalism and Secularism

Class XII: India’s relations with its neighbours, Indian democracy, Globalisation and social change, Mass media and communications, Developing psychological skills, Understanding Partition



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