As many as 240 persons protesting in various parts of the city, urging the State government to implement Samacheer Kalvi this academic year, were arrested on Friday, police sources said. They have been remanded to custody and lodged in the Puzhal prison. There were arrests in other districts too.
Responding to a call by the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, several school and college students boycotted classes and joined parents and members of some political parties to raise slogans demanding immediate introduction of Samacheer Kalvi.
Director of School Education D. Vasundara Devi, however, said that the attendance of teachers and students across various districts was 95 per cent on Friday. “Classes went on as per schedule.”
The protests come in the wake of the ongoing litigation in the Supreme Court, where the State government's counsel has been arguing that the syllabus cannot be implemented this year for various reasons ranging from a syllabus of a “low standard” to errors in the newly printed textbooks.
Ever since the newly-formed State government announced that it would defer the implementation of the syllabus, different groups, including school teachers, activists and students have been expressing their dissent.
While some sections see Samacheer Kalvi as a policy decision of the State government and its implementation as the “next stage” to be looked into subsequently, teachers and parents have voiced concern over “politicising” an issue that has an immediate and direct impact on the everyday learning of several lakh children.
The confusion around the issue has meant a lot of changes in the classroom. Questions such as ‘Which syllabus to follow?', ‘What textbooks to use?' and ‘How to structure classes until the final verdict?' still remain among large sections of teachers, students and parents.
While nearly 90 per cent of the textbooks as per the new syllabus is ready for dispatch to government and aided schools, sources in the School Education Department said textbooks as per the old syllabus were simultaneously being readied.
Well into the first term, teachers said that though the Directorate of Teacher Education Research and Training circulated a lesson plan to be followed in the interim period, parents and students were getting anxious about their further course.
Meanwhile, the Committee of Educationists for Samacheer Kalvi has warned the State government that if it does not take steps to implement the new syllabus this year, educationists, parents and students will assume the responsibility. “We were shocked to see a section of private schools admitting that it has been following the old syllabus. It is clearly a case of contempt of court,” members said in a release.