Govt. committed to bringing it out in 2012, but with five months left, result may be a hurried job

Three months have passed since school education minister N. R. Sivapathy declared that his department would draft the Tamil Nadu Curricular Framework 2012 to set high standards for the State, but precious little has been done in this direction.

The department had, in April, formed a 10-member committee to appoint a panel of experts to draft the document; but not once has this committee met in full strength. With less than six months to go before this year is out — the government has committed to bringing out the document in 2012 itself — it is likely that the framework, even if drafted this year, will be the result of a hurried job.

Members of the panel will have the task of stating the specific aims of education in the State, and recommending ways to achieve goals in an environment that allows children to understand concepts rather than memorise and reproduce facts.

While this document for Tamil Nadu would be modelled on the National Curriculum Framework (NCF) 2005 — a vision document for the country that is considered child-centric and progressive — the committee would have to address challenges that may be specific to the State.

Officials in the department say that a list of potential members on the panel will soon be circulated amongst the committee. If all the members approve, the sub-committee will be formed. With the process of identifying academicians and professors alone having taken three months, the panel will be left with just five months to work on the curriculum framework, which seeks to serve as a grand vision document providing a framework for syllabi, textbooks and teaching practices in the State.

E. Balagurusamy, Member (Education), State Planning Commission, who is on the committee said: “We will involve subject experts. And in Tamil Nadu’s case, we are only filling some gaps. It is not like we have to start from scratch. So we can complete it in a few months.”

Department officials, too, seem to believe the exercise is simple. “We are confident about finishing the task on time. After all, we have involved senior professors. They will complete the task quickly. They just have to meet a few times.”

The panel, according to officials, might include senior professors from IIT-Madras and Anna University. However, there is no sign of school teachers or teacher-trainers being approached for the purpose. Also, subject experts who have had the experience of working on the NCF 2005 do not seem to figure in Tamil Nadu’s exercise.

When contacted, Krishna Kumar, professor of education at Delhi University and a former Director of NCERT who was involved in brining out NCF 2005, said Tamil Nadu had some remarkable teachers and teacher-trainers. “They should be involved in the highest committee level,” he said.

Speaking on the NCF experience, Prof. Krishna Kumar said that it departed from previous documents on four main grounds – the marked attempt to focus on understanding and engaging with knowledge; hand-picked scholars who were subject experts with a track record of in working in the area of school education; the inclusion of teachers in the process, and the participation of NCERT’s own faculty who came with rich experience and perspective.

“Teachers rarely get a voice and in such an exercise, it is important to include them as they understand how children learn or make sense of knowledge,” he said emphasising that including teachers from rural areas was crucial to making the exercise meaningful.

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Teaching & LearningSeptember 24, 2010

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