Any similarity between Social Science (SS) and Mathematics? Not much, at least apparently. But, in the district, if not across the State, these two subjects proved to be the undoing of many students in the SSLC examination this year.

If SS failed the most number of students, Mathematics won the least number of A+ this year, observers say.

The struggle with Maths is age-old. But the problems posed by SS call for a collective solution by teachers, students, and parents, they say.

T.M. Shaji, a Social Science teacher with the Government Higher Secondary School, Peringolam, says that SS has been a tough nut to crack in the past four years.

“I know a school in the district, where 30 students failed last year in the SSLC examinations, all of them in SS,” says Mr. Shaji. The vastness of the subject, comprising 24 chapters, and its diversity, could well be the villain for some. Others blame ill-equipped teachers.

“Most teachers will be in a hurry to finish the portion in the given time. They are unable to take along with them weaker students, for which they cannot be blamed considering the huge volume in hand,” says Mr. Shaji, who found only six candidates worthy of A+ out of the 250-odd SS papers he valued at the SSLC evaluation camp this year.

T. Abdul Razak, SS teacher and training faculty in Social Science with the Education Department, says that usually a teacher who is qualified in one of the five segments of SS such as History, Geography, Economics, Politics, and Civics, teaches all the five subjects. Also, cluster training centres do not train SS teachers well.

The inability of teachers in adopting an analytical approach, which is essential for teaching the discipline of SS, is another major hurdle. “The sheer size of the text, which comes in two parts, is another big challenge,” he says.

C.K. Aseez, another social science teacher and faculty member of the government’s teachers training programmes, identifies as the key problem the “unmanageable” size and range of the subjects included in the single paper. “Schools like the Pulloorampara Higher Secondary School in the district did not get cent per cent success because of a single candidate’s failure in SS,” says Mr. Aseez.

‘Change methodology’

However, Balachandran Parachottil, academic coordinator of the education standing committee of the district panchayat, believes that a lot will change if the teaching methodology is changed.

He said that failure of students in SS was a pointer to the special focus teachers and students needed to give the subject. “SS is usually considered an easy, ‘non-science’ subject. That attitude is not going to help any more,” said Mr. Balachandran.

He said the district panchayat would work out an action plan to crack the subject from this academic year.

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