The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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HS syllabus, inch by inch revelation

Calcutta, Aug. 17: Students in hundreds of higher secondary schools across the state can get back to books with the West Bengal Council of Higher Secondary Education announcing a portion of the syllabus for Class XI.

Since last month ' after the government decided to split the HS syllabus into two from 2007 onwards ' Class XI students in several schools were left twiddling their thumbs as the council had not informed the authorities about the topics to be taught.

Today, Gopa Dutta, the council president, announced a part of the syllabus, but only pertaining to two subjects ' English and Bengali.

Those opting for English A will study Rabindranath Tagore, Rudyard Kipling, Agatha Christie, P.G. Wodehouse and poets, including Wordsworth, Keats and Thomas Hardy.

Those with English as their second language ' they will be offered the English B course ' will be taught Jerome K. Jerome, Tagore and Manikuntala Sen, besides Wordsworth and Helen Keller's The Story of My Life.

Dutta said the rest of the syllabus would be released within the first week of September.

The decision to bifurcate the HS syllabus had given rise to confusion among schools, which could earlier choose the portion of the course to be covered in Class XI. Things got worse with the higher secondary council delaying the announcement of the texts to be taught in that class.

'Now... the schools will at least have some material to teach the students, who will not have to sit idle the whole day in classrooms,' Prithwis Basu, general secretary of the West Bengal Headmasters' Association, said.

'The schools have the overall HS syllabus with them at present. But suppose we teach a topic in physics in Class XI now and the council allots it for Class XII. In such a situation, it will be just a waste of time. Besides, the more the council delays in informing us about the Class XI syllabus, the more difficulties the schools will face in completing the course before the annual examinations next year,' Basu added.

Dutta defended the HS council, saying 'we are working overtime to complete the exercise to divide the syllabus of the 52 subjects by the end of this month'.

She added: 'The schools will have ample time to complete teaching the syllabus within March next year when the annual examinations will be held to determine the promotion of students to Class XII.'

The council chief clarified that the current exercise is meant only to carve up the syllabus. 'There has been no inclusion of any additional topic nor have we excluded any topic from the syllabus, which we had prescribed before the commencement of the current session.'

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