Meera Srinivasan

Entire syllabus for the term in one book

Move will reduce burden on the child who otherwise has to carry a heavy load Carrying such a load affects the children physically and psychologically Schools have a choice on these books, but overall response has been good

CHENNAI: A couple of leading publishers have come out with updated editions of term books for students of matriculation schools.

Orient Longman is launching a revised package of term books for students of primary classes, based on the revised matriculation schools' syllabus.

An all-in-one

A term book essentially comprises first/second/third term syllabus of various subjects, bound into one unit. This means that it would be sufficient to carry one textbook, as against four or five, otherwise, in each term.

Macmillan, too, has come out with a revised edition of term books for students of classes one to five, under the matriculation board. These books, to be launched soon, have been updated with inputs from teachers, heads and leading educationists.

A set of 15 books in all (titled Petals), comprising three 'term books' per class, will be launched. They have also come out with 'Happy English', based on the latest matriculation syllabus, to aid English teaching.

"We propose to hold a meet for teachers and heads of various schools, during the launch," said R. Mohan Krishnan, senior vice-president, Macmillan Chennai.

"Our primary concern is the well-being of the child. Many have expressed concern about the load children are made to carry, right from their primary classes. This would have a long-term harmful effect on the physical well-being of the child, particularly on the spine. Psychologically, too, it is daunting to carry so much weight," says Vani Vasudevan, Publisher, Schools Division, Orient Longman.

After people such as R.K. Narayan (as an MP had) raised the issue in Parliament, syllabus-framing authorities, including NCERT, started acknowledging the problem, she said.

Useful for teachers

For students of class V for example, English, Mathematics, Social Studies and Science lessons for a particular term would be available in the same textbook, along with respective workbook activity.

Since many of the exercises are pupil-correctable, teachers would also find the textbooks useful. "Though there is some value addition, as publishers, we are obliged to adhere to the syllabus requirement," Ms. Vasudevan said.

"Schools have a choice regarding term books. It is up to us to convince them. But so far, we have had a hearty response," she added.

Girija Seshadri, Principal, Jaigopal Garodia Hindu Vidyalaya tried implementing term books for primary students, two years ago.

"Though term books were useful, they gave children an impression that one needn't go back to those lessons after that particular term is over," she said.

Load reduction

"All lessons have an impact on other lessons as learning is a continuous process. But with term books, we had a little difficulty in convincing parents. If we gave objective questions from lessons in the earlier term books, they would complain. So we have resorted to other means of load reduction," Ms. Seshadri said.

Chitra Prasad, Principal, NSN Matriculation Higher Secondary School, says introducing term books is a welcome move. However, she says she would prefer more choice. "I would go through these books and if I am happy with the content, I would introduce them. It would be useful if many more publishers came out with term books as we would have more choice," Ms. Prasad said.

Apart from term books, Orient Longman has also published a set of eight textbooks covering various subjects, for classes one to nine.

Class eight has been excluded as a revision in syllabus is expected in 2007.

Bikram Kumar Das, Regional Manager, Orient Longman says, "A few schools do not advocate term books. We have published new text books, after incorporating revised syllabus to benefit these schools."