July 9, 2020 4:34:26 am
Expressing reservations about the manner in which the Central Board of Secondary Education selected topics to drop as part of its curriculum rationalisation for Classes IX to XII, Delhi Education Minister Manish Sisodia Wednesday asked the board explain the reasons based on which the topics had been chosen, particularly those of strong relevance “in the contemporary context”.
Sisodia had been strongly supportive of syllabus reduction, and had written to HRD Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal last month, suggesting 30% reduction in syllabus across all grades and subjects. However, on Wednesday, he said while he supported the decision on reduction, he had concerns on the manner in which it was implemented.
“The curriculum deduction details containing subject-wise topics, which have been deleted, gives no reason as to why a particular topic or chapter has been left out… Social Science is one discipline where there is maximum scope of controversy and I agree that no matter which topics are chosen or left out, the questions are bound to be raised. Hence the board should have been careful and explained its rationale behind dropping certain topics,” he wrote in a detailed statement.
He asked the board to clarify why it dropped the following topics – “Democratic Rights” and “Food Security in India” for Class IX; “Democracy and Diversity”, “Gender Religion and Caste”, “Popular Struggles and Movement” and “Challenges to Democracy” for Class X; “Federalism”, “Citizenship”, “Nationalism” and “Secularism” for Class XI, “Social and New Social Movements in India”, “Regional Aspirations” and “Understanding Partition” for Class XII”.
Responding to the criticisms in a statement, CBSE stated the reduction exercise was a limited one-time measure, and only meant the topics would not be tested in the 2021 board exams and could be taught by teachers.
However, Sisodia criticised this, pointing to the exam-centred approach of school teaching.
“…asking heads of schools and teachers to cover those topics while explicitly saying these will not be part of internal or year-end board exams is not enough as it is well-known that evaluation drives teaching-learning in class. Hence, for all practical purposes, these topics are unlikely to be covered… Social Science topics are so relevant in the contemporary context that it is important that children learn about it through authentic sources rather than through ‘Whatsapp University.'”
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