The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) has decided to drop chapters on Democracy and Diversity in Class 10 Social Science syllabus for the 2019-20 sessions. As per reports three chapters from the Democratic Politics Book– I namely, ‘Democracy and Diversity’, Popular Struggle and Movements’ and ‘Challenges to Democracy’, will not be evaluated in the board examination of 2020.
A circular was released by the CBSE saying that the chapters will be assessed in the periodic tests, but will not be evaluated for the board exams. The decision is a part of the curriculum rationalization exercise undertaken by the Human Resource Development Ministry to reduce the burden of the curriculum on the students.
As per the board, the chapter, ‘Challenges to Democracy’, includes ‘thinking about challenges’, ‘political reforms’, and ‘redefining democracy’, while the chapter, ‘Popular Struggles and Movements’, creates an understanding of the vital role of people’s struggle in the expansion of democracy. The chapter on ‘Democracy and Diversity’ analyses the relationship between cleavages and political competition with reference to the Indian situation.
Throwing light on the incident a government school teacher said that the CBSE has made these crucial chapters optional for students. These chapters will be evaluated in the periodic tests but knowing that they will not be tested in the boards the students are not likely to go for an in-depth study of these chapters.
The teacher also added that there are four books for the social science examination for 80 marks. “The National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) textbooks that the students refer to today were carefully designed after the National Curriculum Frame Work, 2005. The book was designed in a way which promoted flexibility among teachers as well as students. The idea was to delink textbook from examination and promote student’s interest in the subject” added Krishna Kumar, former NCERT Chairman.
He also mentioned that the CBSE is taking away the flexibility from the textbooks adding that the NCERT should be the body that should decide the curriculum but it is the CBSE which is calling the shots.
Supporting Kumar’s thoughts, HS Mamik, Chairman of Vivek High School, Sector 38, says that the CBSE, an examination body, cannot decide on should be included in the syllabus. “NCERT and the team of academicians should be advising the government. CBSE is just interfering in other people’s work, he added.
Reema Dewan, Principal, Delhi Public School, Sector 40C, and CBSE city co-coordinator, however, says, “There are 20 marks allotted for political science in the board exam and the syllabus is sufficient, the three chapters which are excluded will be given due weightage and taught in the periodic exams”
On the other hand, Prof. Satvinderpal Kaur from the Department of Education, Panjab University, too is of that opinion that this is not the right thing to do to reduce the student’s workload. “Chapters such as ‘Popular Struggle’ and ‘Movements and Challenges to Democracy’ have their own importance in the making of a child’s understanding of the past struggles. The child’s knowledge of these topics must be holistically evaluated. What is being done is not healthy and will have a harmful long term effect”, he said.
She also points out that chapters are interrelated in social sciences and students understanding of the chapters in question will be poor. The alteration in the curriculum is unplanned and haphazard. For the purpose of political socialization, understanding the democratic setup is a minimum without it what is the value of social science? ” she asks.