In a bid to promote a better understanding of the people hailing from the North East, the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) has included a chapter on North East for Class IX students as part of its English curriculum for the Open Text Book Assessment (OTBA).
“Every year, before the second summative assessment schedule, the CBSE sends out the curriculum for OTBA, which are basically open text book exams. A core committee picks out these subjects every year and prepares the curriculum to be circulated. Usually, we try some value-based teaching on some current topics which leads to positive discussions. We are glad the selection of chapter on North East has been appreciated,” said Sugandh Sharma, additional director (research and innovation), CBSE.
The English paper for OTBA has two themes. The first, “Let’s Welcome, Accept and Respect”, is based on eight states of the North East. The second emphasizes India is a secular country and even has a poem “ U, Me, We” dedicated to unity in diversity.
The 10-page chapter details the distinctive features of each of the eight states beginning with Manipur, which had been described as a state which is home to various art forms and a rich musical culture and is a place where tradition meets modernity. The chapter speaks of Meghalaya as the torch-bearer of Khasi poetry and of Shillong, which is often called Rock Capital of India.
The chapter also traces the folk tales of Arunachal Pradesh and Mizoram, the national icons hailing from Assam like film personality Bhupen Hazarika, bloom time in Sikkim and the unspoiled natural beauty of Tripura combined with its distinctive combination of cultures and communities.
Nagaland resident and former president of North East Organisation of Pune, Rock Lungleng, welcomed the move. “This is the true aim of education, to instill values in students. In the North East, we learn about rest of India, so we are not shocked when we come here to study or work. But there is a lot of discrimination that we face, especially on campuses from other students. If there is an understanding of our distinct culture since the school level itself, assimilation into mainstream will be easier for us,” he said.
Academicians too lauded the decision of the CBSE to choose North East region for this year’s OTBA.
Every year, CBSE picks up subjects which are in discussion. Given the debate on intolerance, a subject that promotes acceptance amongst students of cultures different from their one is a welcome move,” said Vinita Khaladkar, principal of City International School.
Another principal, C V Madhavi of Aundh DAV School, said since there was no cramming involved in OTBA, children took a lot of interest in reading these subjects.
“It promotes a greater level of understanding of the subject,” she said.