Back and forth on syllabus leaves schools at sea

Based on the interim order of the HC, the government will not cap the number of hours of online classes.

Based on the interim order of the HC, the government will not cap the number of hours of online classes.   | Photo Credit: Sudhakara Jain

With the government removing the proposed trimmed school syllabus from its website and putting it up for review following criticism, private schools that follow the State board are at a loss over which lessons to teach.

To add to the confusion, the government is yet to approve the report that lays down the rules for conducting online classes. The report was submitted a month ago by the expert committee appointed by the Department of Primary and Secondary Education.

The report, ‘Continuation of Learning in School Education of Karnataka’, puts a cap on the number of hours devoted to technology-enabled education during the COVID-19 pandemic. For now, many schools are conducting online classes as per the guidelines stipulated by the report.

“The Department of Primary and Secondary Education is working at a snail’s pace. We are teaching lessons from the old syllabus. The government needs to publish the revised syllabus at the earliest so that teachers can prepare accordingly,” said D. Shashi Kumar, general secretary of Associated Managements of Primary and Secondary Schools in Karnataka.

Private school managements had started online classes in June, with most conducting refresher courses comprising lessons from the previous grade. By mid-June, many began classes for the 2020-21 academic year. In July-end, the government shortened the syllabus by 30%. Chapters pertaining to Mysuru ruler Tipu Sultan, some parts of the Indian Constitution and complete lessons on Jesus Christ and Prophet Mohammed were dropped from the class VI and VII curriculum.

Many teachers said that they had already covered portions of the curriculum which the government trimmed or deleted. “We then decided to follow the revised syllabus, but now, even that is under review. Our teachers do not know what to teach,” said a teacher from a high school in north Bengaluru.

Parents are unhappy with the government’s responses to e-learning.

“The government has been extremely lax about laying out a structured plan for learning during the pandemic,” said Chandana R., whose son is in a pre-primary class.

K.G. Jagadeesha, Commissioner for Public Instruction, said that schools can teach the entire syllabus till the trimmed syllabus is published. “Textbooks were distributed to schools. Regarding guidelines pertaining to online classes, schools have to follow the High Court order. Based on the interim order, the government will not cap the number of hours,” he said, adding that schools can conduct online classes based on consultation with parents.

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Printable version | Sep 20, 2020 12:15:45 PM |

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