Cuttack, Aug. 25: The general body of the Orissa Board of Secondary Education (BSE) has approved of changes to the High School Certificate (HSC) examination curriculum, hoping to prevent a repeat of this years dismal performance which saw a 5.95 per cent fall in the pass rate.
The pass rate in the HSC-2008 was down for the first time in four years and the new syllabus with optional papers was singled out as the main reason. BSEs education committee combed through the curriculum earlier this month and suggested changes.
The new curriculum eliminates two optional papers and a practical paper.
Optional papers, withdrawn more than a year ago, were reintroduced under a new syllabus and for students who appeared the HSC-2008 two optional subjects were made mandatory for the first time, increasing the total marks to 800 from 750.
Previously, students were permitted to write one optional paper selected from a limited range of subjects such as mathematics, Sanskrit, physiology and hygiene.
From 2008 students were given a wider range to opt for.
For the optional paper-I there was mathematics, agriculture, dairy and pisciculture and a higher language (English or Oriya and Hindi or Sanskrit or Urdu).
For the optional paper-II the choices were science, computer education, environment and population education, basic commerce and home management.
The new curriculum sticks to English and third language subjects of 100 marks each, mathematics in two papers totalling to 100 marks, history and social science for 100 marks and science 100 marks, bringing down the total aggregate from 800 to 600, said N.K. Mohapatra, the BSE secretary.
The new syllabus would start from 2009-10 session, he added.