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English burden eased, land norm halved

- Council tweaks rules for students & schools

The Council for The Indian School Certificate Examinations on Friday announced several changes in the ICSE/ISC system, from reducing the Plus Two English syllabus to relaxing the land criterion for setting up schools affiliated to the Delhi-based body.

Students appearing in the ISC exams in 2015 will have to study 10 poems and as many prose chapters, instead of 15 in each category.

“We are happy the council has agreed to reduce the ISC English syllabus. Students who will appear in the all-India competitive exams will benefit from the move,” said Nabarun Dey, the general secretary of the Association of Schools for the Indian School Certificate.

Many principals and teachers, as well as students, had complained to the council that the English syllabus was too large and taking up most of the time of the young learners, who were being forced to neglect the other subjects. English is taught as the first language in every ISC school in all three streams — science, arts and commerce.

While reducing the syllabus, the council, however, rejected a proposal from a section of school heads that Shakespeare be removed from the curriculum. “There will be three texts, one each of Shakespeare, Shaw and Hardy,” said a council source.

In the ICSE (Class X) section, As You Like It has been replaced with another Shakespearean comedy, The Merchant of Venice. “Students who will be in Class IX next year will study The Merchant of Venice, which many consider easier than As You Like It,” said an English teacher.

As for the land criterion, the council has reduced the requirement to set up an ISC school in urban areas from one acre to half an acre. In the districts, too, the requirement of two acres has been halved.

Council officials said the space requirement has been slashed because of shortage of land, especially in urban areas. “The move will also help implement the council’s decision to set up 5,000 schools in the country in the next five years,” said an official.

The council made it compulsory for all ICSE students to appear in six subjects, though they will only have to pass in five (English and four others).

It also directed the Bengal schools affiliated to it not to switch to the January-December session, followed by state government schools, and stick to the April-March one.