When almost every field and fragment of the society has been affected by the outbreak of the Corona Virus, so was the impact on education as well. Recently the educational board, CBSE, announced that it has decided to reduce its syllabus for class 9 to 12 for academic sessions 2020-2021 by up to 30% at the behest of the HRD Ministry.
HRD minister Ramesh Pokhriyal tweeted: “Considering the importance of learning achievement, it has been decided to rationalize syllabus up to 30 percent by retaining the core concepts.” “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,” he added.
The measure appeared to be helpful until the masses realized what the axed syllabi included. Crucial topics such as “Democracy and diversity”, “Gender, Religion and Caste”, “Popular struggles and movements”, “challenges to democracy” were dropped for Std. X whereas Students of class XI-XII who are the potential voters of tomorrow will no longer read about Federalism, Citizenship, Nationalism, Partition, and Secularism.
It raised many eyebrows on whether CBSE’s intent to cut down the load on students and teachers is actually a politically charged decision or not. People from academic, political, and other walks took to social media to register their concerns with the move. Actress Richa Chadha called it “Sanitising of democracy” instead of “rationalizing”
It’s not called ‘rationalising’, but ‘sanitising of democracy’. https://t.co/XspaFjiQfg
— TheRichaChadha (@RichaChadha) July 8, 2020
While, academician Ali khan Mahmud laid stress on the fact that the topics can be rewritten.
The deletion of the nationalism, secularism, federalism and citizenship sections in students pol sci textbooks is an indication of what‘s to come. They will be rewritten and reinserted into according to the BJP’s agenda at a later date.
— Ali Khan Mahmudabad (@Mahmudabad) July 8, 2020
West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee tweeted on Wednesday, “Shocked to know that the central government has dropped topics like citizenship, federalism, secularism, and partition in the name of reducing CBSE course during the COVID-19 crisis.”
“We strongly object to this and appeal to the HRD Ministry, Government of India, to ensure these vital lessons aren’t curtailed at any cost,” she added.
Congress leader Shashi Tharoor also tweeted: “One has to doubt the motives of those who selected the topics to drop. Have they decided democracy, diversity, secularism, and “the like are more dispensable concepts for tomorrow’s Indian citizens? I urge the government to rationalize the curriculum rather than strip it of civic values ”
Though owing to heavy criticism, CBSE issued a clarification on the rationalization saying that it was a “one-time measure” owing to the circumstances.
“The rationalization of syllabus up to 30% has been undertaken by the Board for nearly 190 subjects of elms IX to XII for the academic session 2020,21 as a one time measure only,” the Board clarified in a statement.
“The schools have been directed to follow the Alternative Academic Calendar prepared by NCERT for transacting the curriculum. Therefore, each of the topics that has been wrongly mentioned in media as deleted have been covered under Alternative Academic Calendar of NCERT, which is already on the force for all the affiliated schools of Board,” CBSE added.