Delhi Education Minister Manish Sisodia plans to cut school syllabi to ‘reduce pressure’ on children so they have more time for vocational skills, arts and sport. Among the government’s reasons for dropping certain chapters and lessons are that they are ‘uninteresting’, ‘unimportant’, ‘too complex’, ‘too dark and morose’, and oddly, ‘use grammatical words’ and ‘lack succulence’. The government also feels children need not learn about panchayati raj and feudalism because they are ‘not related to a city like Delhi’ and ‘are slowly disappearing’.
Hereare some examples of what your children may no longer learn and, in the government’s view, why.
* Khan Paan ki Badalti Tasveer (Lekha Jokha): Very short and descriptive lesson, uninteresting and lack succulence. Unimportant as far as knowledge of language is concerned.
* Lakhnavi Andaaz: The lesson contains a satire on feudal class which may be removed. There are other lessons dealing with Satire and Humor like ‘Premchand Ke Phate Jute and George Pancham’.
* Lesson 4, An Indian American Woman In Space: Sentence construction is too complex and is more passive than active. Sentences are too long and appear contrived and convoluted. The learner is overwhelmed by vocabulary. The structure and explanations affect the impact of the lesson.
* Lesson L-4, The Old Clock Shop: The tone of the lesson is too dark and morose. Much of the thoughts and actions of the Shop characters are conveyed through mannerisms and insinuations making them difficult for our learners to understand them. Create difficulty in translation as well.
* Lessons 9 and 10, The Comet-I and The Comet-II: Lengthy, too many concepts like superstitions, scientific reasoning, averting disaster etc. makes the text [a] challenge in terms of evaluation. Learners have done the story in Hindi.
* Gulliver’s Travels, Jonathan Swift: Very lengthy… The language and vocabulary is old English. It is a difficult text for an average 14-year-old first generation learner. Topical references to 18 century England and its political situation does not allow the student to relate with the text…
* Lesson 8, Reach for the Top: Topical (Achievers at the time when the text book was published). Lengthy with two different stories in one lesson. Focus on one issue could make it less confusing. The method of incorporating two stories in one chapter has already been done in chapter 2, ‘The Sound of Music’. Maria Sharapova has since fallen down the ATP rankings (Sania Mirza could replace her)…
* Mijbil The Otter: Difficult for the learners to envisage an Otter as a pet. Difficult to relate to since many have not seen an Otter. There is already a lesson on a Pet in Foot prints without feet, The Triumph of Surgery.
* The Diary of a Young Girl, Anne Frank: A lot into the culture and history of the times is prerequisite to understand the details. A mere learning of facts in the History syllabus, which our children read in Hindi, does not suffice. Too explicit references to physical changes in the adolescent body. Lengthy.
* Lesson 5, Panchayati Raj: Deals with Panchayati Raj Institutions which are not related to [a] city like Delhi and thus children are unable to comprehend properly.
* Lesson 7, Hashiyakaran Ki Samajh: Content of lesson relates to feudalism, which is not good for social harmony and is inappropriate for the level of students. The practices mentioned in this lesson are slowly disappearing from the modern society.
* Making of Constitution: Lesson does not describe the making of Constitution, it only describe[s] the Constituent Assembly. Hence, it may be deleted.
* Lesson 1, Participation in Governance: Lesson contains examples from different parts of the world [and] after reading this lesson students feel that participatory governance is a complete failure in India, which is not true. Hence, it may be deleted.
* Lesson 2, Federalism: It seems that lesson enumerates only the shortcomings in the Indian federalism. Hence, it may be deleted.
* Jan Sangharsh Va Andolan: After reading this lesson students feel that agitation, anarchy and going against the government are the only means of securing social justice. This is not true in a democracy. Hence, it may be deleted.
* Lesson 12, Rabindranath Tagore: The syllabus contains another lesson ‘Kabuliwallah’ by Rabindranath Tagore. Students were given information about the life of Rabindranath Tagore during this lesson. Hence, it may be deleted.
* Lesson 16, Palestini Bacche Ke Liye Lori: This poem is about Palestine in which the referred children are neither of Slaved India or Independent India.
* Class 8, Lesson 10, Ashok Vanika: Extensive use of grammatical words.
* Lesson 2, Mera Apna Pind: Today’s urban children are unable to relate to this lesson as its story is set in a rural background.
* Lesson 26, Nirmau: This story creates fear and talks about tantrums.
* Lesson 20, Gaddiyan Wale: Story is setup in rural background; urban children are unable to relate to nomadic tribes.
* Lesson 6, Population: This lesson may be deleted as it contains only data and figures. Further the data related to demography and population changes frequently.
* Lesson 7, Lifelines of National Economy: Lesson contains only factual information which is not very important for the learner. Hence, it may be deleted.
* Class 10, The Story of Cricket: Cricket is not a standard game. Lesson gives unimportant and exaggerated account of cricket. Hence, it may be deleted.
— From Delhi government circular issued last week, ‘inviting opinion about proposed reduction in syllabus’.
Compiled by Apurva