09 March, 2018

Syllabus Reduction – Are We Aiming Creation of Brainless Data Banks?

By Radhakrishnan C

Most of us felt much relieved when we heard about government’s decision to reduce the syllabus. I have a different take on this. I don’t think syllabus or curriculum is the root cause of learner stress. More than syllabus, how we approach syllabus or curriculum must be looked into. The current curriculum or syllabus is driven by learning outcomes, and if we are able to focus on this, there is no need to cut. Reducing the content becomes a right approach only if the outcome we expect is mugging up and presenting it as it is in a standardized assessment. To survive in the current world, learners need to go even beyond the current curriculum or syllabus, and understand how to apply the theories learned in day to day life and real life situations. Learners must be able to innovate to improve upon the current practices and solve the issues coming up, to create a better tomorrow for all.

The challenge is – in our traditional classrooms, every page and every word in textbooks is expected to be taught and mugged by students. Nobody is bothered about its applicability and practical skills. Assessment is standardized, hence all must mug up to have a better score. In this assessment system there is no chance for individualized leaning based on the interest or aptitude of the learner. This creates stress and makes people feel that content is heavy. We must first focus and build an attitude on what to teach and what to achieve as learning outcome? Our focus must be on balancing the school calendar events, providing sufficient weightage for co-scholastic – sports, literary, cultural and life skill activities along with individualized learning and assessment practices to strengthen academic foundation. I do not believe cutting syllabus will help us to have more experiential learning, co-scholastic activities and life skill oriented programs in schools. We need to restructure our approach on lesson delivery and assessment. Actually, by withdrawing the CCE, without having a better system, we pushed back the system to a more traditional one.

If CBSE continues the present confusing and frequent altering of policies, parents may move to some other international boards, which would cater to the needs of learners in a better manner and prepare them for the future. Policy makers must reform the system to alleviate the root causes rather than looking for a peripheral change just to prove someone in the past was wrong. Changes we implement must be to improve the learning outcomes. It shouldn’t be for producing more certificate holders who are incapable to convert the knowledge they gained into wisdom and apply in real day to day situations. Hence, we need to look for a curriculum which can really bring forth the hidden talents in learners and prepare them with the much needed life skills to be successful. In short, creating ‘data bank brains’ won’t help our current school going generation to thrive in the future.

Your comments after introspection are most welcome…..