It has finally happened. Students have declared war on another subject. Mathematics has a new competitor to vanquish. Social studies, or more commonly referred to as SST in the country, has emerged as the newest proverbial ‘monster’ among students of Class 10. Counsellors and students have agreed that besides mathematics, SST will prove tricky to crack. Social science is a term for history, geography, political science and economics. The examination is scheduled for March 22 even as Class 10 sits for its first exam on March 5.
“Though mathematics is still the most feared subject, social studies has come up in a number of conversations I’ve had with students of Class 10,” said Sangeeta Bhatia, a CBSE resource person and student counsellor. Known to be the subject of rote learning, SST was far behind as long as students were cocooned in the comfort of Continuous Comprehensive Evaluation (CCE) system followed in CBSE schools since 2009. Now, a barrage of dates, maps and political theories at once are making it difficult for students to cope with the vastness of the syllabus.
“SST is not my thing; it is too vast for me. Languages are fine, so is mathematics and science. But it’s difficult with SST as we will now be tested on our learning of the whole syllabus,” said Maitri Bansal, a student of Delhi Public School (DPS), Sector 40. With only 20% marks in the domain of schools, the pass percentage is expected to see a sharp drop in Class 10 this year.
“The syllabi for history and geography are too vast. It’s so much detail that I tend to get distracted when I’m revising the chapters. If there hadn’t been any CCE, then it would be normal for us too,” said Himani Rajput, a student of Government Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 35D.
For head boy Chandan from Government Model High School, RC-1, Dhanas, the language will be more of a challenge as they are instructed in Hindi. “The language is tough, so the terms are mind-boggling. The timetable I’ve made is not enough. So, I am focusing on important questions from previous years,” he said.
He, however, added that the advantage they had was that the syllabus was finished on time and they had a lot more time to study than before. Many students take tuition for mathematics and science, but SST was heavily dependent on self-study.
“There are problems, yes. The syllabus is double of what it was, so I’m focusing more on SST. I take tuitions for math and science; Hindi and English are easy,” said Ananta Attri, a student of St Anne’s Convent School, Sector 32.
Teachers have agreed that students were dependent on tuition for subjects such as mathematics and science. However, they said the sudden shift from the CCE to the board examination was the key reason behind all the panic.
“The monster is in the mind. For so long, Class 10 has never faced the entire syllabus. They rely on themselves for SST; for other subjects, they go to tuition and coaching centres. Parents too don’t give much importance to the subject,” said Preeti Sharma, an SST teacher from DPS.
She added that any subject could be cracked if the student was interested. Another SST teacher, Monika, from St Anne’s Convent agreed that SST was value-based and conceptual. “The problem is created when the child starts studying. Parents tell kids to mug it all up, so the first impression is stark,” said Monika.