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Rationalised syllabi

It is fervently to be hoped that books on social sciences, notably history, that are open to subjective reflection will not be drastically changed to suit a particular perspective on Mughal and British India. Preeminently, this must include the NCERT’s book on Indian history, published in the early 1990s. The NCERT director, Mr Sridhar Srivastava, has underscored the need to rationalize the syllabi for the publication of suitably edited textbooks.

Statesman News Service | Kolkata |

With two academic years lost owing to the coronavirus pandemic ~ it isn’t time yet to gauge the impact of Omicron ~ the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) has rightly decided to truncate the school textbooks for the 2022-23 session for all classes. Hopefully, the revised syllabi should be ready by the end of March, at any rate before the next academic year begins in April 2022.

Both teachers and the taught will readily concede that aside from human lives, the process of instruction and learning have been major casualties of the disease and the resultant disruptions, not the least because children are yet to be vaccinated. The Centre’s directive on Monday on the vaccination for older children is welcome and can be contextualised with the essay towards reorienting the syllabi.

Given the delay in the formulation of the new National Curriculum Framework for school education, both the syllabi and the books are to be rationalized. The content departments, which include internal and external experts, will submit the rationalized syllabi very shortly, based on which the fresh textbooks are to be crafted. Ergo, a critical responsibility rests with the boards of studies. The NCERT is proceeding with remarkable promptitude. Pertinent, therefore, is its directive that by 1 January 2022, the textbooks with proposed changes need to be sent to the publications division for printing.

It is fervently to be hoped that books on social sciences, notably history, that are open to subjective reflection will not be drastically changed to suit a particular perspective on Mughal and British India. Preeminently, this must include the NCERT’s book on Indian history, published in the early 1990s. The NCERT director, Mr Sridhar Srivastava, has underscored the need to rationalize the syllabi for the publication of suitably edited textbooks.

Given the Covid pandemic, students in all stages of school education had “struggled a lot to continue their learning through online and other modes”. The NCERT has fixed August 2022 as the deadline for the finalization of the school curriculum, after which the development of textbooks will start. The Council has set February 2022 as the deadline for states to complete the district-level consultations. This will be followed by the development of 25 themebased “position papers” by the states and Union Territories. The new textbooks, based on the National Curriculum Framework 2022, are likely to be introduced from the 2023-24 academic session.

The paradigm shift lends no scope for cutting corners; topics will have to simplified for convenient comprehension. Lucidity must replace bombast in all subjects. A huge responsibility, therefore, rests on the teachers who will have to reorient their instruction in accord with the new books and the gaps in learning that have impeded school education. A no less onerous responsibility will devolve on paper-setters and examiners, most particularly at the threshold of the transition from high school to college.