Syllabus aims at a wholesome method of equipping children with skills; problem lies in the way lessons are transacted by teachers and schools

With many parents seeking to shift their children from the State’s uniform system of school education to CBSE, ICSE and other boards, the Samacheer Kalvi (equitable education) syllabus is facing a lot of flak.

But experts say the problem lies in the way the lessons are being transacted by teachers and schools, and not in the syllabus itself.

According to M.P. Vijayakumar, retired State project director, Sarva Siksha Abhayan, parents do not understand the true nature of the Samacheer Kalvi syllabus, which blends activity-based learning (ABL) with traditional forms of learning.

Jayamary Andrews, who recently shifted her 12-year-old daughter from State board to ICSE, offered in the same school, says, “My daughter found the Samacheer Kalvi syllabus too simple. She was being taught things she has already learnt a couple of years ago.”

Ms. Andrews also wants to shift her nine-year-old son from the State board as soon as possible, as she feels he has become lethargic and does not take his lessons seriously, finding them too easy.

With elements of CBSE’s NCERT curriculum, Samacheer Kalvi aims at promoting a wholesome method of equipping children with life, technical and interpersonal skills, says Mr. Vijayakumar.

“The teachers, principal and the school should be on board in imparting the lessons in the correct manner. Children should be evaluated on their social development and ability to think and solve problems, and not on the extent to which they can learn and remember the lessons,” he says. Vidya Shankar, who runs Cascade Montessori Resource Centre, says, “Children are often shamed into conforming to the prescribed form of what is acceptable, and schools label them ‘failures’ if they don’t.”

Under the Montessori system, a child is allowed to blossom as there is trust placed in capability. “By default, children want to learn and will do so in an encouraging environment that is devoid of pressure,” says Ms. Shankar.

“Eleven-year-old Harish in my class is able to solve math problems that a typical class VII or VIII student is exposed to. So you cannot blame a syllabus. Parents, teachers and the school need to wake up to the reality that children cannot be scared into performing, but need an environment that lets them grow into bright individuals,” she says.

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