The Tamil Nadu School Education Department is planning to reduce academic portions from the textbook for students of Classes 1 to 10, in order to compensate for the teaching time lost due to the COVID-19 lockdown.
According to a report in the Times of India, the government is aiming for a 30% reduction in the syllabus, which will be identified by a separate committee.
Speaking to TNM, a senior officer from the School Education department said, “The state government had formed a committee to examine academic and teaching issues arising out of COVID-19 pandemic. The committee will decide on the quantity of portions that can be omitted from the curriculum this year. However, it is premature to tell by what amount the syllabus will decrease this year.”
On May 12, the government of Tamil Nadu had formed a committee under the leadership of the Commissioner of School Education Sigy Thomas Vaidhyan to evaluate and recommend the way forward for school education amid the pandemic. The committee was also said to have stakeholders from across the education sector, like Kalvi TV, United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), IIT-Madras and various Parents Teachers Associations (PTAs).
Among the issues assigned for this committee to evaluate are the problems in teaching that have come up due to the early closure of schools this year, the delay in beginning the next academic year and how to make good the loss of time due to this delay.
The committee has been told to identify the gaps in teaching and learning processes due to early school closure and possible delay in reopening of schools; they have been tasked with bringing out an action plan involving technology to ensure that the learning process of the children is uninterrupted.
It is expected that since there is no clarity on when schools in Tamil Nadu will be allowed to reopen, the reduction in the syllabus load for students of Classes 1 to 10 for the academic year 2020-21 will be anywhere between 30% and 50%.
The committee will read through the textbooks and come up with a table of contents that can be removed without any impact to the learning goals of the students. This would include portions that have been repeated from earlier classes and those that are relatively less important. For example, portions that deal with the basics of a subject, like grammar in language, would be retained, but aspects like stories and poetry might be eliminated from the portion, according to reports.
After the committee makes its recommendations, the Tamil Nadu School Education Department will take a final call. The decision will then be communicated to teachers who will teach based on the new syllabus. The exam pattern will remain the same.
The government, meanwhile, is yet to decide on similar reduction of portions for students of Classes 11 and 12. A decision is expected to be made after a recommendation by National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT), so as to not let students of Tamil Nadu to be at a disadvantage when it comes to preparation for competitive exams like the NEET or IIT-JEE.