It has been around a month since the Maharashtra State Board of Secondary and Higher Secondary Education (MSBSHSE) invited suggestions, opinions and objections from parents and teachers on its proposed new syllabus for the upcoming academic year, but the panel has received only 27 suggestions for trivial amendments in school subjects like mathematics, science and Marathi so far.
The board is likely to forward all suggestions to the government today. Terming the process of involving parents in policy making a usual practice, MSBSHSE Chairperson Ujwaladevi Patil said that parents gave their suggestions for adding new chapters and rearranging the proposed syllabus in subjects they are not satisfied with.
"Till last week, we received around 25 suggestions on the proposed syllabus from parents asking for some minor changes in the syllabus. But most parents have asked for modifications and changes in subjects taught in Classes IX and X. They want the subjects to be made more practical-oriented and less textual. This indicates that there will no major changes in the syllabus," Patil stated.
The board has forwarded the suggestions to the committees of respective subjects. Once the MSBSHSE receives the suggestions from these committees, it will decide what changes need to be made in the curriculum.
According to Patil, the board has already proposed inclusion of new chapters -- on Right To Information (RTI), human rights, Right To Education (RTE), drafting of the constitution and electoral processes -- in the new syllabus to make it job-oriented.
The board has also received suggestions from parents who have asked for a one-to-one meeting with MSBSHSE officials in order to understand the process better. "Changing the syllabus is fine but learning should be made easier and stress free.
The board has to do away with rote learning and also with exams. They should rather focus on teaching students practically," said Khozem Dala, a parent who has sent suggestions to the board. "There is a need for a change in the school's syllabus and we are fine with it. But the schools should introduce latest subjects especially in science and maths and information should be updated time to time," stated K. Roshan, another parent.
PTA, schools lash out at MSBSHSE
THE MSBSHSE claims to have sought suggestions from parents and teachers on changes in the proposed syllabus for the next academic session, but several parent-teachers' associations and school authorities across the state said that they were not even aware of the process. "A month after the new syllabus was proposed, we conducted a survey and spoke to principals, teachers and parents regarding the proposal. Though they have put up topics and subjects on the MSBSHE website, but no one knows about the content. They have mentioned the name of the subject, but don't know what they signify. How can we send suggestions without knowing the new subjects? Not everyone checks the MSBSHE site on regular basis," said Rajshri Natu, a senior member of the association. The PTA plans to send a letter to the state education department, education minister Rajesh Darda and even to MSBSHE chairperson UjawalaDevi Patil, asking why the process was not streamlined or simplified.