A month after the new academic year, ‘Samacheer Kalvi,' or Equitable Standard School Education, introduced for students of Classes I and VI has not gone down well with most parents and teachers. A good number of school management heads think that integrating all the school boards — State, Matriculation, Oriental and Anglo-Indian — has diluted their existing syllabus, while parents continue to remain anxious.

On Sunday, questions pertaining to ‘Samacheer Kalvi' dominated the Parents Teachers Association (PTA) meeting of St. Michael's Matriculation Higher Secondary School, Adyar. Parents of both middle and high school students queried the management on a number of issues concerning the new syllabus.

Many raised their apprehensions about the new curriculum diluting the standard of education. They said they feared that the standard of their children might not be competitive enough for other examinations.

A few parents suggested that the school switch to CBSE or ICSE stream. The management replied that many applications for NOCs were pending with the State government and it was unlikely, according to parents who attended the meeting. The management tried to convince the parents saying that they would supplement the regular ‘Samacheer Kalvi' textbooks with extra material.

Similarly, in the feedback forms issued by TI Matriculation Higher Secondary School before PTA meetings were held, some parents raised concerns on ‘Samacheer Kalvi.'

The issues were addressed in an open meeting held classwise. However, Principal Sheela Raghavan thinks Class VI parents, for whom the meeting is yet to be held, would be more anxious.

Rathna Kumar (name changed), a parent of a Class VI student at Don Bosco School, said his son's teacher told the class that they were studying only one-fourth of what their seniors studied.

Some parents said the standard of the Maths and English syllabus for Class VI had been watered down.

Meanwhile, Principals say that as the goals are quite simple in the new syllabus, they are supplementing it with additional content and activity.

“We are following the ‘Samacheer Kalvi' syllabus but our methodology is different. We have introduced the XSEED programme in which teachers have a lesson plan prepared for every hour and emphasis is on consistency this year,” says Ms. Raghavan.

Father Stanley Ignatius, Principal of Don Bosco, Egmore, agrees that the curriculum has taken a beating, with subjects such as Maths and Science reduced to a single paper. “We are planning to use additional content to enrich students' understanding,” he says.

While supplementing content from elsewhere is one possibility schools are considering, managements say the challenge is to see how many teachers would go that extra length. Monitoring that would be a big task, say school heads.

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Liffy ThomasJune 28, 2012

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