The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) has reduced the syllabus for classes 9-12 by up to 30 per cent for the academic year 2020-21 due to the ongoing pandemic.
This measure has been taken under ‘extraordinary situation’, “Considering the importance of achieving the level of learning, the syllabus has been rationalised to the extent possible by retaining core concepts,” reads the board circular.
It goes on to say how the closure of schools to contain the spread of COVID-19 has resulted in the loss of classroom teaching. In April, the syllabus was trimmed in the practical portions but taking online lectures into account and resultant stress on students and teachers to complete the vast portion, the CBSE went ahead and scrapped it further.
Many experts have lauded this move as it reduces the pressure on teachers to hurry through the syllabus but also gives students a psychological relief.
“Teachers often ask me how to finish the curriculum on time. This rush negatively impacts students’ learning abilities. Students do not understand the concepts properly and end up memorising them. So cutting down the syllabus is a welcome move,” Rohit Prakash, founder of iDream Education, tells The Better India.
However, he is also concerned about the omitted topics that may be significant. “The decision-makers should delete those topics that will be repeated in higher standards. This way, it is a win-win situation.”
However, in the revised syllabus, that has already been sent to the students, several crucial topics like ‘Citizenship and Secularism’ in Political Science, ‘Carbon and its Compounds’ in Science, and ‘Triangles’ in Mathematics, are not listed.
“A lot of important topics that are necessary to build a strong foundation for a particular concept have been removed. Without learning these topics, I am not sure how I will understand them in the higher classes. Nothing has been said about alternative ways to learn those topics. This is very concerning,” says Anvesha Vijan, Class 10 student of the Convent of Jesus and Mary, Shimla.
Echoing her worries, Nidhi Balli, class 10 student of K.V.I.I.T. Powai in Mumbai, says, “Some basic topics in organic chemistry have been removed. I wish to take science in class 11, so I’m worried that this will affect my admission to a university. For those of us who can afford it, we will cover the topics via coaching classes, but what about others? The move is a relief for this academic year but could be a challenge ahead.”
Meanwhile, a student from Orchid International School, Mumbai believes that the scrapping is not going to make much of a difference, “Most of the omitted chapters were taught to us before the lockdown. If they wanted to reduce the burden, they could have scrapped the last few chapters.”
There have been several concerns and doubts regarding this measure. To answer them, The Better India spoke to Anuradha Pandey, former Principal of Modern School (Nagpur) and Vinita Sharma, Principal of Kendra Vidyalaya (Ahmedabad). Here’s what they have to say:
- How to get the revised syllabus
Students, teachers and parents can go to the official page of CBSE or click here.
- How can a student study the deleted topics?
Deleting specific topics does not necessarily imply that teachers cannot cover them. If time permits, those topics can be taught. If those topics are important for higher standards, then the teachers from the higher classes can cover the portion. They can also utilise a few days from the summer vacations to do so.
The removed portion can also be covered in a bridge course conducted by the schools before the announcement of the final results. This course can help in bridging the gap between the two classes. Students can also put individual efforts to study the topics.
- Will the deleted topics be asked in entrance examinations like the JEE?
As of 8 July, CBSE-affiliated schools have not received any notification in this regard. However, experts suggest that since CBSE is the same body that conducts the JEE, it will take the deleted portion into account and set the examination papers accordingly.
So, students wishing to appear for entrance examinations need not worry until a concrete decision is taken.
- Will the syllabus be further reduced?
Further decisions regarding the syllabus will depend on the pandemic and on how well students adjust to online classes.
- Is the deleted portion applicable only for this academic year?
Again, this depends on the COVID-19 situation. If the schools resume the traditional way of classroom learning, then the syllabus can be reverted.
- Will teachers cover the basics that are necessary to understand chapters?
If the teachers believe that a certain omitted topic can help in understanding another topic that may appear in exams, then they must spend time teaching them.
- Can students request teachers to cover deleted topics?
Yes, if the students feel that by not covering a topic, their overall studies will be hindered, they have the right to make the request. Such cases are subjective and may vary on the guidelines of the schools.
- Will the exams be cancelled?
Just like the 2020 batch, there is a possibility that exams may be cancelled for the 2021 batch. This will depend on future circumstances.
Edited by Shruti Singhal