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Govt mulls optional maths for Madhyamik

The syllabus restructure committee has been asked to examine if such a provision can be introduced
The government is examining a proposal to offer Madhyamik board students a choice to drop mathematics in classes IX and X.
The government is examining a proposal to offer Madhyamik board students a choice to drop mathematics in classes IX and X.
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Mita Mukherjee   |   Calcutta   |   Published 05.03.19, 09:31 PM

The government is examining a proposal to offer Madhyamik board students a choice to drop mathematics in classes IX and X.

The syllabus restructure committee, which is reviewing the Madhyamik syllabus, has been asked to examine if such a provision can be introduced, a school education department official said.

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Many students are scared of mathematics and often some don’t clear the Class X board exams for failing in the subject, an official of the West Bengal Board of Secondary Education said.

Thousands of students score high in the other compulsory subjects but barely scrape through in mathematics. This pulls down their average score, the official said.

The syllabus restructure committee has been asked to examine how to provide relief to students who find mathematics difficult.

Dropping the subject could be one option, the official said. The committee will explore other options like redesigning the mathematics syllabus, keeping in mind students who find the subject difficult, he said.

“The intention of the government is not to take a populist stand. There is a fear in the minds of several students regarding mathematics and this often leads to failure,” he said. “So, our intention is to make the syllabus more student-friendly.”

The Council for the Indian School Certificate Examinations had made mathematics optional more than a decade ago. But a handful of ICSE schools in Calcutta allow students to exercise the option.

The ICSE course is divided into three groups. In Group II, there are six subjects, of which students have to choose two. The subjects are mathematics; science, including physics, chemistry and biology; economics; commercial studies; a modern foreign language; and environmental science.

Group I covers the language papers and Group III the social sciences subjects.

“Mathematics is one the most important subjects and it is extremely important for every student to study the subject till Class X,” a mathematics teacher of an ICSE school in the city said.

“Learning mathematics is not just knowing a particular subject. A knowledge in mathematics till Class X helps students understand various concepts in several other areas.”

The government should be careful before taking the final call on making mathematics optional, a teacher of a Madhyamik school in the city said.

“Schools can push students to drop the subject in order to improve the success rate. If this happens, many students who can grasp the subject may suffer,” the teacher said.

The West Bengal Board of Secondary Education rules make it mandatory for students to study seven compulsory subjects — two languages, first and second; mathematics; physical science; life science; history; and geography.

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