‘Syllabus Change Is Fine, But It Will Affect Those Sitting For Competitive Exams’
Aditya Tripathi, an educator in Uttar Pradesh, says the syllabus revision should have also taken on board other institutions that hold competitive exams post-Class X and XII. His views:
The NCERT syllabus has been revised with an aim to reduce the burden on the students of Class 10 and 12. You can hear voices in the media from academic and political circles criticizing this move. I shall not like to comment on that part of it because when you see anything from a political lens, there will always be differences of opinion. My concerns here will be limited only to how this move impacts the students and their parents.
The major concern is that most students appear for competitive examinations after clearing their board exams, that is Grade 10 and 12. There is no clarity if the competitive authorities holding exams will take into account the changes made in school syllabus while framing their set of question papers. So, in my opinion the NCERT officials should have resolved this factor before revising the curriculum, or timed it better.
School syllabus is so intrinsically interrelated that even a small change can upset the carefully laid applecart. Take, for example the syllabus of Chemistry. Subjects like Polymer Chemistry and Structure of Solid form a major chunk of questions in competitive examinations. These two subjects have been removed from the studies now. This leaves the students with no options than to join a coaching institute or hire a tutor to study the deleted parts.
Thus while the objective of reducing the burden (of class 10th and 12th students) is served by the revision, it has also created confusion among students whether the competitive exams will also follow the new structure. There is no clarity if the deletions will also be applicable to various entrance examinations to reputed institutions. Thus, ideally the deletions should have been comprehensive, covering the scope of various competitive exams and by taking everyone on the board.
This syllabus revision has also come as an additional burden on the parents who have to pay several lakhs to dummy/integrated schools, coaching classes and private tuitions to bridge the gap. Though boards like CBSE do not recognize or list dummy schools, but parents do not have a choice in this matter. Already, I am receiving queries from many parents for `remedies’ but I am myself still dumb stuck as there is little clarity on the subject.
The second matter of concern is the examinations of current academic session (2023–24) for which the dates have been revised to Feb–March 2024. It will be a Herculean task to complete the syllabus with the new changes, prepare the students for taking examinations. As far as I can perceive, the rescheduling of the examination dates have been done so as not to clash with the upcoming general elections scheduled in May next year.
Overall, I somewhat agree with the justification of the NCERT that the difficulty level of the new content is not very high, and the same can be learnt by students without intervention from the teachers. I have always been of the view that with the advancement of students to higher classes, the interference of teachers in the learning process should gradually decrease.
(The narrator has been a teacher at a Kota institute and is currently the Principal of Amarnath Inter College)
As told to Rajat Rai