The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Teacher hurdle to new HS
- ABTA finds ‘fault’ with changes to raise syllabus standard

Calcutta, Nov. 26: It took years to upgrade the Higher Secondary syllabus. Now, months before its implementation, the teachers’ association affiliated to the CPM has found “fault” with the new course.

The All Bengal Teachers’ Association (ABTA) has written to the West Bengal Council of Higher Secondary Education demanding that the new curriculum be withheld.

Primary, secondary and higher secondary syllabi were set to change from the next academic session. But the association has said the new syllabus framed by the HS council is “too long” and needs revision.

The ABTA’s opposition has come as a blow to the council. Print orders for books were issued after the syllabi were finalised.

Considering the importance the government attaches to the ABTA’s views while framing major school education policies, the council has called an emergency meeting of its syllabus committee on Friday. The meeting will review the demand from a section of the teachers.

“We have completed the process of revising the curriculum and printing of new books has already been ordered. It is difficult for us to introduce changes in the curriculum at this stage. But we honour the demand of our teachers. We have called a meeting with the syllabus committee on Friday where we will discuss the ABTA’s suggestions and see how much they are acceptable,” said Jyotirmoy Mukherjee, the council president.

Government officials say the HS curriculum was revised with an aim to bring it on a par with the syllabi followed by other boards like the Council for Indian School Certificate Examinations and the Central Board of Secondary Education. Several new chapters were introduced in the HS course to give it an all-India standard.

During the revision, an official said, the course content of each subject was determined considering that there would be a minimum of 200 teaching days in Class XI and 200 in Class XII from the next session. HS schools now get a maximum of 170 teaching days in Class XI and 110 in XII.

An official who did not want to be identified said a section of the teachers is opposed to the new syllabus as it would mean an axe on the number of holidays in schools.

ABTA leaders said they decided to approach the council with the demand to put the new syllabus on hold after detecting “faults” in the contents of some important subjects. “The new syllabi of some of the subjects are not just long but they will also be very difficult for the students. The council should correct such faults in the curriculum before they are implemented,” said Prasanta Dhar, a senior ABTA leader.

“For example,” said Dhar, “the new mathematics syllabus is “extremely long and those of physics and biology very tough”.

“After identifying the faults, we held a workshop to discuss the curriculum in detail. Suggestions that came up in the workshop were referred to the council,” Dhar added.

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