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Left leans to right values

Calcutta, Nov. 28: After 22 years, the government has decided to revamp the primary school syllabus with emphasis on value education, which was suggested earlier by the BJP-led Centre but summarily rejected by the Marxists.

The framework of the revised syllabus was drafted today at a workshop organised by the West Bengal Board of Primary Education.

The decision to revamp the syllabus is significant, especially because the government had not undertaken any exercise to update it in the past two decades. Ideally, a primary syllabus should be updated every five years.

Admitting the necessity of value-based education for primary school children, board president Jyotiprakash Ghosh told The Telegraph: “ There are certain universal and eternal values like love for all, courage, truth and learning to respect others. Considering the present scenario, such values should be compulsorily taught to children at the primary level. But under no circumstance, we are going to fully accept the Central government’s policy and teach religion in the name of value education to little children.”

The revised syllabus framed by the state board is slated to be introduced from the 2004 academic session. It will be taught to nearly one crore children between Class I and V in the 64 ,000 state-funded primary schools.

Apart from the addition of value education, several significant changes are to be made in the new syllabus. Education in health and environment will become compulsory for kids. “The number of chapters in health education in the existing primary syllabus is not sufficient and much more emphasis will be given to ensure that the students develop a preliminary idea about good health,” said Ghosh.

The government is also planning the new syllabus in a way that the students get a preliminary training in vocational education.

The move to offer basic training in vocational education at the primary level was considered in the wake of the government’s plans to introduce such courses in the Madhyamik schools.

The existing syllabus was introduced in 1980 and framed following the recommendations of the Himanghshu Bimal Majumdar Committee.

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