The Tamil Nadu State Council of Educational Research and Training (SCERT) has received over 7,000 emails and letters giving feedback on the new draft syllabus.
The draft syllabus was made public from November 20 onwards. The public can access all the details online. It contains the preamble, position papers on the different subjects, evaluation details, curriculum, pedagogy, content and transaction methodology, related to every subject.
The site also has a separate section for public feedback, which will be analysed by the committee and later implemented. The 10-member curriculum framework committee was formed earlier this year and it is headed by former Anna University Vice-Chancellor, M Anandakrishnan. Following this, workshops and meets were organised to prepare the new syllabus for Classes 1 to 12. The deadline for the submission of feedback was extended, after tremendous response from the public. In fact, after a group pointed out that the texts should be available in Tamil as well, the suggestion was implemented.
Commenting on the huge exercise, M Anandakrishnan says, “Most of the feedback has been positive. We have received many mails online and so many people have reached out to me in person.” He further adds, “We had encouraged subject teachers to go through the syllabus in detail and we are glad to see that many of them have got down to the specifics. For instance, we have mails from an Economic teacher who specifically mentioned what should be taught in Class 11. There are also a lot of suggestions on the examination pattern and the contents of the textbooks,” says Anandakrishnan.
Sports gets poor treatment:
Tamil Nadu Physical Education Teacher Physical Director Association pointed that there not much importance has been given to the subject. Devi Selvam, general secretary of the Association says that a section ‘Physical and Health Education’ has a list of physical activities for Classes 1 to 12. However, there is no clarity on the textbook. Physical Education also needs a textbook and should be treated at par with other important subjects,” he says, adding that the Association has already drafted a mail about it.
Meanwhile, many educationist have laid stress on quality teacher training programmes. Educationist Madhumati Narayanan, in her mail to TNSCERT, pointed out that teachers make all the difference to the learning process. “All teachers must therefore be extremely motivated, understand their responsibility and become “role-models” for students. They should be inspirational teachers.”
In her second point, she says, “The overall approach in the draft is to create ethical, competent and responsible citizens, which is laudable. This I believe is more critical in Classes 1-5, where a strong foundation to one’s character and competencies are laid. Thinking skills, creativity, problem solving, physical fitness, etc., being part of the draft is a welcome move. Also, the learning process has to be highly enjoyable and interactive. Whatever be the curricula, the teachers should be able to make every session engaging by making lesson plans which provide for hands-on activities, games and exercises. Special effort to be taken to create session plans, that would be appealing to visual, auditory and kinesthetic learners.”
The feedback draft said, “After the syllabus change is implemented, all the four education boards should be merged. The School Education department should ensure that the same syllabus i s followed in both the government and private schools following the state’s syllabus.” It further said, “The committee has no recommendations about making Tamil mandatory in schools. Tamil should be made compulsory for students till Class 10, to prevent commercialisation of education.”
A special team has been formed by SCERT where experts will go through all the suggestions. “We have received more than 7,000 mails through the site. The response has been encouraging. We have already formed a team that is going through everything that we have received and in two weeks we will put everything together and send it to the 10-member committee. The experts will go through all of it and implement in the new syllabus,” says G Arivoli, director, SCERT.