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Soon,human rights on menu for CBSE Class XI students

Rishabh Marya,16,wants to have a better understanding of human rights issues in India and abroad.

Written by Maroosha Muzaffar | New Delhi |
July 1, 2009 5:36:47 am

Rishabh Marya,16,wants to have a better understanding of human rights issues in India and abroad. He wants to know what happened in Lalgarh in West Bengal and what the US should have done in Guantanamo Bay.

“We have a right to know the whole truth — even the Maoist and the militants’ points of view,” the Class X student of Delhi Public School,RK Puram,said.

All his questions will be answered next year as the Central Board of School Education (CBSE) launches Human Rights Education as a separate subject at the 10+2 level from 2010-11 academic session. A draft syllabus has already been devised and Class XI students will be able to opt for Human Rights as an elective,officials said.

“We have been thinking of introducing Human Rights as a separate course for two years now,” CBSE chairperson Vineet Joshi told Newsline.

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While NCERT has incorporated elements of Human Rights Education in Social Science textbooks,it will be offered for the first time as a separate subject. According to CBSE officials,it will be introduced throughout the country in all schools affiliated to the Board.

“Human rights is an important issue in our country and it will be useful for children to understand its various aspects,” Joshi said.

Human rights panel on board
Significantly,the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) is backing CBSE in putting the idea into practice and has been preparing various modules for secondary and senior secondary-level teachers to create awareness.

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NHRC had also conducted a national conference on Human Rights Education at school-level on April 1 this year. The talks included heads of all state human rights commissions and officials from all state Boards.

NCERT has already infused elements of human rights in Social Science at primary and secondary levels. Following the National Curriculum Framework of 2005,NCERT replaced old textbooks with new ones in three phases in 2006,2007 and 2008.

“The new NCERT books have used examples from real life to sensitise students about human rights issues,” M V S V Prasad,head of NCERT’s faculty of Social Sciences,said.

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Joshi said,“We have prepared the syllabus and textbooks will come next. We will have everything in place by the next academic year.”

Dr Sadhana Parachar,who was involved in drafting the syllabus,said,“We have prepared a very comprehensive syllabus.”

Some schools,though,are not so certain. “It is great idea but it has to be done in a formal way,” Springdales School,Pusa Road,principal Amita Wattal said. “Human rights is a tricky subject and the issues might vary from state to state.”

But CBSE chairperson Joshi said,“We will provide context of the issue at hand in our textbooks.”

Welcoming the idea to add human rights in the curriculum,Usha Ram,principal of Laxman Public School,Hauz Khas Enclave,said the new course offers a definite career prospectus. Organisations like UNESCO and NGOs will “always prefer” students with a knowledge of human rights,Ram said.

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Director of School Education Chandrabhushan Kumar refused to be drawn in the argument,saying,“I am a government servant and cannot say anything on this matter.”

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First published on: 01-07-2009 at 05:36:47 am

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