CBSE schools in Chennai analyse reduced syllabus, say they will frame learning plans accordingly

Heads of schools and teachers say the focus will be on teaching students the reduced syllabus, but they will try and make time to teach the deleted portions as well

Earlier this week, the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) released a revised its syllabus for the 2020-21 academic year for students of classes 9 to 12.

With online classes progressing at a brisk pace for senior secondary students in the city, teachers handling these classes have been busy analysing the 30% reduction in syllabus and planning a revised academic plan for the year. The wait, however, continues for State board schools in Tamil Nadu as there is still no clarity on the reduced syllabus for students.

In Physics, there has been a significant reduction in the syllabus for practicals and lab experiments. “Senior students are required to work on a project but it has been done away with. The board has taken into account the fact that till schools are reopened, it will be tough to complete experiments and lab work,” said M.K. Girija, principal, Shree Niketan Patasala.

Following the roll out of the reduced syllabus, concerns were raised about the topics deleted which included demonetization and the impact of government policy changes on business, in Business Studies for classes 11 and 12.“Most of the topics that have been specified for Business Studies such as demonetization and government policy only make up a page or two. Teachers will thus not avoid teaching them and they won’t be overlooked,” said a Commerce teacher.

Questions are being raised about the topics deleted for class 10 social science, which include democracy and diversity, gender, religion and caste, popular struggles and movements and challenges to democracy. “While the CBSE has clarified that these topics just won’t be tested in assessment or exams, it is yet to be seen if schools will make time for it since many schools in Tamil Nadu do not have a humanities group in classes 11 and 12. Since they will simply focus on teaching from an examination point of view, these sections might be ignored,” said a senior principal of a CBSE school.

In their circular, the CBSE has said that the rationalisation of the syllabus was done to reduce the exam stress of the students and that no question shall be asked from the portions that have been deleted for exams next year. The topics which feature under the deleted portions list, find a place in the NCERT’s alternate academic calendar which schools have been advised to follow.

“While our focus will be on the rationalised curriculum, we are also planning on making time to teach the concepts which have been omitted in Chemistry towards the end of the year for students of class 12 as it might help them with competitive exams. Overall, the board has ensured that for classes 9 and 10, there are reasonable omissions of concepts which are either repeated from their lower classes or concepts they will study in higher classes,” said Gomathy Rajan, chemistry teacher, Sir Sivaswami Kalalaya Senior Secondary School.

For subjects like Accountancy, Mathematics and Physics, teachers remain cautious and are planning ahead to ensure that they are able to teach effectively online and cover the syllabus.

“There has been no major reduction in the Accountancy syllabus for students of class 12 and there are small segments in chapters which have been done away with for class 11. Despite the syllabus having been rationalised, subjects like these lend themselves better to classroom teaching and for the online classes, we need to meticulously chart out a teaching plan,” said Priyanka Ghosh, principal, Vikas Mantra Public School. To aid the students who are currently attending online classes, Ms. Priyanka said that they are coming up with additional resources such as reference notes and explainers.

Asha Nathan, principal, Chennai Public School Anna Nagar said that they are in the process of restructuring their plan for online classes based on the reduced syllabus. “The CBSE has recommended that we also go through and adapt the alternative academic calendar released by them. For higher secondary mathematics, there are a few basic topics which have been omitted as a part of the reduced syllabus and since we want students to learn it, we will be referring to the alternate academic calendar to see how we can incorporate it,” she explained.

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