Multiplicity of curricula and resources in addition to a “core element” is desirable as a uniform board or syllabus across the country does not take into account the local culture, context and language, the CBSE has told the Delhi High Court.
The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) states this in response to a public interest litigation by lawyer Ashwini Kumar Upadhayay seeking a common syllabus and curriculum in all schools.
In a counter affidavit filed in the matter, the CBSE sought dismissal of the petition and said there is a national framework that provides flexibility for emphasis on local resources and ethos so that a child can better relate to the curriculum and education.
Education being in the Concurrent List of the Constitution, it is for the respective state governments to frame syllabus, curriculum and conduct examinations for their schools, the reply said.
“Uniform Board/Syllabus across India does not take into account the local context, culture and language. There is a national framework with flexibility for the emphasis on local resources, culture and ethos.
"A child can better relate to a curriculum that is more closely related to his/ her life outside the school. Therefore, the multiplicity of curricula and other educational resources is desirable in addition to a core common element,” the counter affidavit said.
In the response, the CBSE explained that a national curriculum framework developed by the NCERT as per the mandate of the National Policy on Education (NEP) sets the guidelines and direction for the development of syllabi and textbooks at all the school stages.
State Council of Educational Research and Training (SCERTs) and State Education Boards either adopt or adapt NCERT's model syllabi and textbooks or develop their own syllabi and textbooks based on the framework, it added.
“NCERT prepares model syllabus and textbooks for school education, which is in the concurrent list. Therefore, states and UTs have the freedom to either adopt or adapt NCERT textbooks,” the response said.
The CBSE, the response said, adopts NCERT's syllabi and prescribes NCERT textbooks for schools affiliated to it.
The reply further informed that as per NEP, the formulation of a new and comprehensive National Curricular Framework of Schools Education or NCFSE 2020-21 would be undertaken by NCERT based on the principles of policy and frontline curriculum needs.
Also, discussions will be held with all stakeholders including state governments, ministries, relevant departments of the central government and other expert bodies.
The NCFSE would be made available in all regional languages. It shall be revisited and updated once every 5-10 years, taking into account the frontline curriculum, it stated.
“NCERT develops a National Curriculum Framework based on the recommendations given by the National Policy on Education. It also develops model syllabi and textbooks on school subjects across different stages of schooling keeping in view the core concerns like inclusive education, gender concerns, value education etc,” the affidavit said.
“It is most respectfully prayed that this Hon'ble court may graciously be pleased to dismiss the present writ petition of the petitioner as the same is devoid of merits, in the interest of justice,” it stated.
In the petition, the petitioner claimed that the different syllabus and curriculum by CBSE, ICSE and State Board is contrary to Articles 14, 15, 16, 21, 21A of the Constitution of India and that the Right to Education implies the Right to Equal Education.
“Syllabus and curriculum is common for all entrance examinations viz. JEE, BITSAT, NEET, MAT, NET, NDA, CU-CET, CLAT, AILET, SET, KVPY, NEST, PO, SCRA, NIFT, AIEED, NATA, CEPT etc.
"But, the syllabus and curriculum of CBSE, ICSE and State Board is totally different. Thus, students don't get equal opportunity in the spirit of Articles 14-16,” the petition has said.
The petition contended that a common syllabus and curriculum in the mother tongue will not only achieve the code of a common culture, remove disparity and discriminatory values but also enhance virtues and improve quality of life, elevate thoughts that advance the constitutional goal of an equal society.
The petitioner has alleged that the “school mafias don't want One Nation-One Education Board, coaching mafias don't want One Nation-One Syllabus and book mafias don't want NCERT books in all schools”.
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