The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) on July 7th announced it will reduce the syllabus load for the academic year 2020-21, as a compensation for the lost instructional hours in the wake of COVID-19 Pandemic.
Just recently, on July 8th, the new syllabus was released, which aimed at reducing the load by 30%. However, the revised syllabus was received with criticism from the high-profile community as the revision omitted certain chapters dealing with nationalism.
For instance, ‘Secularism,’ ‘Federalism,’ ‘Nationalism’ and ‘Citizenship’ is removed from class 11 Political Science syllabus, according to media reports.
Chapters like ‘Environment and Natural Resources,’ ‘Regional Aspirations,’ ‘Security in the Contemporary World’, and ‘New Social Movements in India’ were omitted from thr syllabus class 12 Political Science.
Chapters on ‘Structure of Indian Constitution’ and ‘Democratic Rights’ have been removed from the class 9 Political Science syllabus.
Chapters omitted from class 10 syllabus includes ‘Democracy and Diversity, Caste, Religion’ and ‘Gender and Challenges to Democracy.’
Chapters pertaining to India and its relationship with neighboring countries like Nepal, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and Myanmar has been omitted from the chapter- India’s Foreign Policy of Class 12 political Science.
These are among the other chapters removed from the CBSE syllabus of classes 9, 10, 11, and 12 to reduce the load on students. But it was met with furor on the internet after media coverage.
“Shocked to know that the Central Govt has dropped topics like Citizenship, Federalism, Secularism & Partition in the name of reducing CBSE course during #COVIDCrisis,” West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee tweeted.
“We strongly object to this & appeal @HRDMinistry, GoI to ensure these vital lessons aren’t curtailed at any cost.”
Congress leader Shashi Tharoor pointed out students of standard 11 and 12 “who are on the cusp of becoming voters themselves, will no longer learn lessons on ‘understanding Partition’, ‘nationalism & secularism’, or ‘India’s relationships with its Neighbours’.
“One has to doubt the motives of those who selected the topics to drop. Have they decided democracy, diversity, secularism&the like are more dispensable concepts for tomorrow’s Indian citizens? I urge the Govt to rationalize the curriculum rather than strip it of civic values,” he wrote.
Surajit Majumdar, a professor at the Jawaharlal Nehru University, was quoted as telling PTI: “How do you optimize learning during this time? You are trying to reduce the investment in education, you are compromising on the learning of students,” NDTV reports.
“Reduction does not have to be because of the pandemic but for optimisation of learning,” Prof Majumdar said.
CBSE has issued a statement on the internet furor with a circular stating that it has come to the notice of the board that the reduction of the syllabus was “interpret differently.”
The board clarified that the rationalization of the syllabus up to 30% of the academic year of 2020-21 of classes 11 and 12 is a ‘one-time measure’ only and the “objective is to reduce exam stress of students to the prevailing health emergency situation and prevent learning gaps,” the statement reads.
Further addressing the controversy which arose after the majority of media reports mentioned the chapters as ‘deleted,’ CBSE said schools have “been directed to follow the alternative academic calendar prepared by NCERT for transacting the curriculum.”
“Therefore each of the topics that have been wrongly mentioned in media as deleted have been covered under the alternative academic calendar of NCERT which is ready in force for all the affiliated schools of the board,” CBSE says.
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