Expert panel to examine syllabus, textbooks of other classes

The Supreme Court on Tuesday asked the Tamil Nadu government to continue implementation of the Samacheer Kalvi Thittam (Uniform System of School Education) for Classes 1 and VI for 2011-2012.

In respect of other classes, the Supreme Court directed the State to appoint an expert panel to examine the syllabus/textbooks and the ways and means to implement the common curriculum and submit a report to the Madras High Court in three weeks.

A vacation bench of Justices B. S. Chauhan and Swatanter Kumar said the committee would be headed by the State Chief Secretary and comprise two academics appointed by the State; two nominees each from the State government and the National Council for Education, Research and Training; the Director of School Education and the State Education Secretary.

The Bench asked the Division Bench of the High Court to hear the main writ petition, after the receipt of the committee report and dispose of it expeditiously on day-to-day hearing.

It made it clear that since the validity of the Act had been upheld by the High Court and the Supreme Court, the committee could not go into the issue of change of the system. It said the committee should consider how to implement the directions of the High Court given in April 2010 for the implementation of the Act. It should complete the proceedings to enable the High Court to decide the writ petition expeditiously.

The Bench passed the order after hearing senior counsel P.P. Rao, senior counsel Rajiv Dutta, Additional Advocate General Guru Krishna Kumar, Advocate General Navaneethakrishna, appearing for the State and senior counsel, A.K. Ganguly, senior counsel M.N. Krishnamani and counsel Prashant Bhushan and Harish Kumar for students and parents.

The Bench said the decisions taken administratively or through legislative measures or such changes emerging with political changes or the wisdom of legislature should have a paramount consideration in the interests of the student community.

Prior to the introduction of the Samacheer Kalvi Thittam, Tamil Nadu had four Boards, viz State Board; Oriental; Matriculation and Anglo-Indian.

By the Tamil Nadu Uniform System of School Education Act, 2010 Act, a common curriculum was introduced and it was implemented for classes 1 and VI. After the Jayalalaithaa government assumed office, the Act was amended and Section 3 was introduced in the Act to postpone the implementation of the scheme.

The High Court while staying the decision asked the State to implement the Act.

‘Deficiencies'

The State in its special leave petition pointed out that the High Court did not consider the fact that the review of the syllabus was necessitated owing to various deficiencies, including propaganda material introduced by the DMK government, virtually amounting to politicising the minds of young children.

As a consequence, the competence of the students in the State would not be on a par with students of other parts of the country while facing national-level examinations, the SLP said.

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