With the number of COVID – 19 cases increasing every day, there is uncertainty over when things will go back to normalcy. Students have not been able to enter their campuses since late March, all over the country. June was usually when the academic years began. Due to obvious reasons, there has been a slight delay in the start. While some states have already come up with innovative ways to conduct their classes, a few boards are still in the planning stage. To understand the different aspects of the educational plans taken up by various state and central boards, read ahead.
Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE)
In an attempt to rationalise and reduce their syllabus by 30%, the board decided to ‘completely delete’ the chapters based on Federalism, citizenship, nationalism and secularism from their political science curriculum for the next academic year (2020-2021). Chapters of local government and its working has also been deleted. Various chapters have also been cut down in other subjects. The CBSE in its official statement said, “The Heads of Schools and Teachers may ensure that the topics that have been reduced are also explained to the students to the extent required to connect different topics.
However, the reduced syllabus will not be part of the topics for Internal Assessment and year-end Board Examination”. HRD Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal took to Twitter and said, “Looking at the extraordinary situation prevailing in the country and the world, #CBSE was advised to revise the curriculum and reduce course load for the students of Class 9th to 12th”.
The decision to delete the aforementioned topics has led to speculations on social media. The move seems slightly risky in the present situation as religious crimes, caste based violence and physical and verbal abuse in the name of nationalism is rampant. These topics are responsible to provide students a deeper understanding of our constitutional values which make them better citizens. The board should maybe reconsider this decision.
Council for the Indian School Certificate Examinations (CICSE)
The ICSE board has also decided to reduce its syllabus by 25% due to the changed nature of classes in the pandemic. The change will be applicable to the curriculum of classes 9 – 12 of this academic year. The decision has been taken to lessen the burden amid limited teaching via online classes, said the board in its latest notification. The syllabus is expected to help students cope with the loss of direct instructional hours due to lockdown. The board has also assured that the reduced curriculum does not compromise the students’ education as the modification is done by ensuring that the core concepts of all the subjects are retained. Instructions have already been sent to the teachers of ICSE and ISE affiliated schools to correctly inform the students about the revised syllabus structure.
Karnataka State Board
A month ago, S. Suresh Kumar, the Minister for Primary and Secondary education had decided to stop live online classes conducted by several schools state wide for students up to 5th grade. A committee was formed to formulate the guidelines for online classes in the state. The committee has submitted its report ‘Continuation of learning in school education in Karnataka’ today to the state government and education department. The committee has stressed upon the need to make efforts till the last child has access to technology that it is being used for education. They state that no child should miss out on education due to lack of access to technology nor de-enrol themselves. They have recommended an age wise approach which will include a blend of pre-recorded and live classes. A maximum screen time of 30 minutes per session for students from pre primary to fifth grade is advised whereas for students from 6 – 10th grades 30 – 45-minute sessions are recommended. Sessions per week also varies from class to class in an ascending order.
The state government and department of education are yet to give their nod to the committee’s report which would enable the next academic year to begin soon. Parents are now asking to reduce the fee structure as the students won’t be using the amenities of the schools.
Kerala State Board
The education department started its academic in June itself and almost 45 lakh students are now attending the virtual classes. Telecasted through VICTERS channel these online sessions are called ‘First Bell’. They are also following a timetable where sessions are held from 8.30 am to 5.30 pm on weekdays for classes 1 to 12. The time slots vary from half an hour to two hours for different classes. The channel is accessible for free on all cable networks, internet and DTH connections. They are also setting up study centres for students who do not have access to computers or television sets. The centres are expected to follow social distancing norms and will be provided with TV sets at a subsidised cost. They have also entrusted the principals and headmasters to ensure that all the students have access to these classes by one or the other method.
Tamil Nadu State Board
Virtual classes in the state for government school children are almost set to begin after July 13th, K. A. Sengottiyan, School education minister said, today. The preparations are happening for online classes and five private channels have agreed to telecast the lessons free of cost on their cable networks at scheduled time slots. The textbooks will be distributed to the students, post which the Chief Minister will inaugurate the classes.
Andhra Pradesh State Board
On 3rd July, the state government announced that the new academic year will commence from August 3rd via virtual mode. They will make use of government TV channels and online classes till the situation returns to normalcy. The classes will be conducted for school and college students up to degree level said the education department. Their officials are now looking to accommodate 180 working days between August 3rd of this year and May 8th next year. The state department said they were waiting for things to return to normal as they wanted students to receive co-curricular education too. However, with the uncertainty provided, they decided to go ahead with the virtual means.
The AP government on 5th July asked private schools to stop all their online classes till the schedule for the academic year is announced as the institutions were urging the parents to buy smartphones, tablets and computers for their kids’ education. The state felt in the current economic situation, every parent may not be able to afford these. Similar strategies have been taken up by various educational boards in the country. With the pandemic not going away anytime soon, it is necessary to adopt online education. The goal of all these boards is to ensure quality education to each and every student despite the difficulty we are faced with.
Picture credits – eduexpert.in