As news of the inclusion of contempary literature books and comics like J K Rowling’s Harrry Potter series, Asterix and Tintin in school syllabus spread like wildfire, students, parents and educationists welcomed the move. The new syllabus was announced by the Council of Indian School Certificate Examination that conducts ICSE and ISC exams and the popular reading is being introduced into the revised syllabus for Class III to Class VIII.
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Excited about the news, students said it will bring a change from the boring reading that they have been doing so far. “I don’t mind reading the stories by Tagore but I don’t find them very interesting. The characters seem so old. But I like adventure and I love Asterix comics and Harry Potter books. We can read those books and see them in movies, it is so much fun. Yes I would like to read this in school and I won’t even feel like it is studies. Also, I want to read Percy Jackson in school lessons,” said 11-year-old Rakshit Shah.
Parents too are excited over the news of the inclusion of comics and books, some of which they say they have been reading themselves since childhood. “I remember reading Asterix and Tintin when I was growing up. I used to read my comics in class, I would keep them inside my regular school books. I have even been thrown out of class for it. So I am glad my daughter will now get to read it officially,” said Jheel Khera, parent of a second standard student at Bishops School.
Her eight-year-old daughter Leishha is excited too. “I love reading Harry Potter. Reading about magic is fun. I also like Akbar-Birbal stories, Three Little Pigs and I wish all of this is read in school. My parents have also read Amar Chitra Katha stories to me at night and I like them too,” she said.
Neetu Rajpal, a resident of NIBM road, who has three children admitted to two different ICSE schools in the city, has mixed views. “Firstly, I think it is a great idea to bring in popular reading, especially for those children who don’t like to read. If they are interested in the stories, they will read better and it improves their reading skills and vocabulary. In my younger son’s school, they don’t even have a formal English textbook but instead comic series are used for English lessons. It makes learning fun. But if I compare it to my older kid’s school where they keep such books for side reading, the focus remains on serious reading,” she said.
Principals too feel that introducing such books for additional reading is welcome. “I think Shakespeare, Keats and Tagore is important read and it cannot be discounted. But yes today’s kids are attracted to books like Harry Potter and Tintin comics. Introducing it will make studies more fun,” said Rita Katawati, principal, Hutchings School.
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