A week after the Tamil Nadu government released the revised draft syllabus for classes one to 12 that come under the state board, stakeholders have demanded more time to review the curriculum. Schools, parent-teacher associations and organisations that deal with reform in education, are all planning to approach the state education secretary for a month long extension to submit their suggestions.
When TNM contacted education secretary Udayachandran regarding the demand for an extension, he confirmed that it will be possible. But it would not be for as long as stakeholders demand. "We are considering the extension. It can be for a week or 10 days," he said.
The draft syllabus was released by Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami on November 20. The public had been given ten days to submit their feedback for the curriculum made available on www.tnscert.org. The syllabus for Tamil, English, Mathematics, Social Science, Science and Information and Communication Technology has been uploaded on the website. The proposed syllabus aims at equipping students to face competitive examinations and prompt scientific thinking.
The Child Friendly Schools Initiative programme, which functions as per the UNICEF's set standards meanwhile, wants to include students, teachers and parents in a discussion in all 32 districts of the state.
"We are writing to the education secretary and plan to ask for time till the end of December to submit our ideas. We cannot rush such a crucial matter just because the state want us to," said Shyam Sundar, the project manager. "Unless all stakeholders are consulted, how can you decide on the curriculum?" he asked.
CFS has come up with a slew of suggestions already and this without even a complete assessment of the syllabus. "We have reviewed tamil, social and science and biology for 12th standard so far," said the project manager. "Another problem that we are facing is that the entire syllabus has not been translated to Tamil and this is further slowing down the process," he added.
Teachers and schools meanwhile are struggling to find time to review the syllabus. "We have been very busy with just regular school work. We looked through the English syllabus and it seems fine but we are planning to conduct a workshop this Saturday to thoroughly analyse the curriculum," says Malathi Gopinath, Principal of the Vivekananda Matriculation Higher secondary school in Coimbatore.
Some parents however told TNM that they were not satisfied with the proposed curriculum and did not think that it would prepare children for competitive exams.
"From what we have seen, it is better than the previous one but definitely requires more additions from the NCERT syllabus," said A Nandhakumar, a member of the Parent-Teacher Association for Matriculation Schools in Chennai. "We are writing to education secretary Udayachandran today and planning to ask for an extension to further study the curriculum. But as of now, we are not content with the draft syllabus," he added.