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NCERT reviewing syllabi, textbooks to reduce load on students

The National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) has launched a review of syllabus and textbooks for schools to reduce the curriculum load on children from the next academic year to ensure that they make a “speedy recovery” in learning, which has been hit by Covid disruptions.

In a letter dated December 15, NCERT director in-charge Sridhar Srivastava wrote to the heads of departments of the Council to carry out the review by involving internal and external experts — and propose the changes by December 28.

Making a case for the review in his letter, Srivastava cited the pandemic during which students across grades have “struggled a lot” in learning through online and other modes. He also referred to observations of a Parliamentary Standing Committee and the National Education Policy 2020 in this regard.

“Though we are in the process of making our National Curriculum Frameworks, the development of new textbooks may take some time to come out. But in view of giving children the opportunity for speedy recovery in their learning continuum, NCERT needs to take a step towards rationalization of its syllabi and textbooks for the next year across the stages,” Srivastava wrote.

“We have somewhat rationalised the textbooks at the primary stage for the next year. Given its continuity with higher stages, this exercise needs to be done in every subject area and for all the classes from VI to XII also,” he wrote.

In a report tabled on November 30, the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Education had praised the initiative of the Maharashtra State Bureau of Textbook Production & Curriculum to lighten school bags.

“A similar approach may be adopted by others,” the panel said, adding that to avoid “content overload” on students, the NCERT should collaborate with state councils to identify specific historical figures for inclusion in the curriculum.

The NEP 2020 states that reduction in content and increased flexibility of school curriculum — and renewed emphasis on constructive rather than rote learning — must be accompanied by changes in school textbooks.

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