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History, geography must from Class IX

Guwahati, May 28: Assam has made history and geography compulsory subjects from Class IX to make the students well-versed with the state’s culture and traditions.

The announcement was made by state education minister Himanta Biswa Sarma after the matric results were declared this morning. He thanked the Seba staff and officials for their efforts for smooth declaration of results and effecting much-needed reforms (see chart) to improve the system. Seba had last year drawn flak for its alleged indifference and apathy following widespread anomalies in marksheets and evaluation.

“We will now be having a 100-mark combined paper for history and geography. Since these two subjects were optional, our young generation finds itself a bit insecure/inferior owing to lack of/little knowledge about the state’s glorious history, culture and way of life,” Sarma said.

The decision will see matric candidates appearing in 2016 see their total marks go up to 700 from 600 now.

“There will be some burden on our students but it is for our collective good,” Sarma said while referring to the ICSE system, which has a total of 900 marks. The total marks for the popular CBSE is 500. The other changes subject-wise announced by Sarma was to adopt the complete CBSE text for environmental studies.

“We will follow the CBSE pattern by taking out the Assam portion, which will now be included in the history and geography paper, so that our students also have complete understanding about India,” the minister said.

The announcement was hailed by the academia.

Dulumoni Goswami, assistant professor of Gauhati University, said, “It will be a good step. The subjects were in the syllabus of schools earlier but were withdrawn later and a subject called Social Studies was introduced. If a student does not know geography, how would he know about the world? History is similarly a very important subject.”

Dinesh Baishya, former principal of B. Borooah College, too, saw it as a very good step if the state government introduces the two subjects.

“The contents of the subjects are very important. These two subjects may not have much market value but they help one to think about different situations,” he said.

Dwelling on the much-awaited reforms being pushed by Seba, Sarma said a candidate who applies for re-examination of his answer script would now be getting a complete refund of the Rs 300 he pays for the service if his marks increase.

Sarma also said e-registration of matric candidates would see a candidate pay Rs 50 against Rs 300 charged for manual registration.

“The overall scenario in the education sector will see a remarkable improvement in the next five years. The appointment of TET teachers is already showing results. More is expected once we fill up vacant positions,” Sarma said.

The education minister has called a meeting on June 7 to see how enrolment can be increased in higher secondary schools. “This a step towards checking the dropout rate,” Sarma said. Sarma introduced former Seba chairman Vinod Seshan, an IAS officer, to the media for the good work done by him before he was posted as Baksa deputy commissioner. The minister praised his successor, J.V.N. Subramanyam, too.