CBSE asks for student's votes on syllabus revamp

Oct 2013 Source: Pune Mirror

The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) is considering reducing the syllabus in social sciences, comprising History, Geography, Political Science and Economics, and has asked ninth and tenth graders and teaching faculty to provide feedback via an online questionnaire. 

Sadhana Parashar, Academic Director, CBSE said, “The CBSE has received a number of requests to reduce the social science syllabus in classes IX and X. Hence, we decided to take feedback from the concerned end users. If the cumulative response is not favorable, we will revisit the social sciences syllabi for both the concerned classes.”

Mirror examined the 14-question feedback form which asked students about the number of lectures allocated to the subject every week, the most challenging aspect of the subject (volume/ concepts), and the need to reduce the syllabus and so on. After speaking to some of the city’s CBSE-affiliated schools, an array of concerns surfaced.

Seema Raina, a social science teacher for classes IX and X at The Orchid School, said, “The social sciences syllabus is crammed and enormous. Varied topics like the French and Russian Revolutions, the rise of Nazism, conceptual learning like pastoralists in the Modern world, power-sharing mechanisms in democracy et al cannot be taught on a peripheral basis.”  Raina added that the chronology of events in the textbooks needs to be revised and made student-friendly. “Since the sequence is misplaced, it adds to the workload of the teachers, and gets complicated and intimidating for students,” she added.

Echoing her views, Kirti Sharma, Principal, Kendriya Vidyalaya, Ganeshkhind, said, “The syllabus is vast and the fact that four independent subjects are clubbed together into a single 100-marks module is too much for students. Also, it is a task for administration to assign four teachers for one clubbed module.” According to Sharma, the CBSE is taking a considerate step in inviting opinions of not just teachers but also students.

Though it appears that the social sciences syllabus is indeed voluminous and scattered, caution needs to be exercised in assessing the responses and doing away with parts of the syllabus that are irrelevant, feels Mrinmayee Bhave, Principal, Gurukul School. “Though the contention that the syllabus needs to be reviewed again makes sense, it needs to be understood that the lessons imparted by means of these subjects are imperative for children. Subsequent to finishing school, some may not continue to study social sciences, which necessitates careful evaluation of the school curriculum,” Bhave said.

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