The uniform school education system (samaseer kalvi) that seeks to combine positive aspects in the four systems of school education in vogue in Tamil Nadu: State, Matriculation, Anglo-Indian and Oriental, is bound to infuse quality into the teaching-learning process, and equip students to compete on an even keel with their peers in other States for admissions to top-notch institutions like the Indian Institutes of Technology and National Institutes of Technology.

Expressions of scepticism about any new initiative are not uncommon, and so the voicing of apprehensions being witnessed over the proposed implementation of the system in Tamil Nadu from next academic year (for standards 1 and VI) is not unusual.

This, in fact, was the reasoning in favour of the system adduced by stake-holders encompassing senior serving and retired education department officials, teachers, and representatives of non-government organisations during a seminar organised by the District Institute of Education and Training (DIET) under the directions of the Directorate of Teacher Education Research and Training (DTERT).

Most of them cited in support of their reasoning the positive impact created by ABL (Activity Based Learning) and ALM (Active Learning Methodology) in State-board schools, particularly in rural parts; these methodologies did not evoke the appreciation of parents initially.

The new system has been evolved factoring in the views, objectives and mission of the National Curricular Framework 2005, Principal of DIET and Co-ordinator of the district-level seminar K. Vaikundavasagan said, addressing the inaugural session.

The contents for the different standards have been sequentially graded in conformity to the levels of intellectual assimilation.

The desired impact that the contents will have on the students on the fronts of independent thinking and skills acquisition have also been precisely defined unit-wise, he said.

Chief Educational Officer K. Swaminathan said the general perception of the people that rural students were inferior on the knowledge and intellectual fronts was a myth.

Rural schools were producing excellent results and the new system will provide them more opportunities to enhance their acumen, he said.

Timimg ideal

Inspector of Matriculation Schools R. Guruchandran felt that the timing was ideal to bring about a change in the school educational system. Unlike in the case of the State Board syllabi, the Matric syllabi was left untouched for over two decades, he said.Former Chief Educational Officer R. Muthukrishnan said a revamp of the system was essential to prepare India that enjoys a favourable demography for a leadership role. The 19 per cent allocation out of GDP for educational uplift during the eleventh plan period was a pointer to the country bracing up to assume the role, he said. Chief Educational Officer – Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, M. Vijayakumari; the District Elementary Educational Officer M. Dhanammal, District Educational Officers, and other senior officials also expressed their views.

The inaugural was followed by group-discussions by participants to suggest improvements. Introduction of science projects for lower classes; splitting Science into Physical Science and Biological Science; incorporating daily utility factors in Mathematics syllabi; introduction of computer studies right from primary stage were among the suggestions that surfaced during the discussions.