Tamil Nadu

School education in Tamil Nadu is no stranger to controversies

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File   | Photo Credit: S.T. Karthick Raj

Several activists and educationalists questioned the need for Tamil Nadu to implement board exams at classes 5 and 8, burdening the students.

The government textbooks with the new syllabus came with their share of errors. A mistake in the Class 12 English textbook about the antiquity of the Tamil Language sparked an outrage in the State, known for its love for the language.

According to the printed book, Tamil Language was 2,300 years old and Sanskrit was 4,000 years old which sparked a political furore. With more mistakes cropping up from the pages of the new books, the government decided to implement a system of continuous evaluation of their content.

Also, when the Central government put out the draft National Education Policy out on the public domain for feedback, political leaders as well as educators and activists from Tamil Nadu voiced concerns.

An initial clause in the policy had recommended mandatory teaching of Hindi in all schools and this stirred a hornet’s nest here. The clause was dropped by the Ministry of Human Resources and Development following sharp criticism.

While the new syllabus implemented in Tamil Nadu aims to reduce rote learning and focus on holistic development, the number of exams for children have been steadily rising. In another move that evoked widespread criticism, public examinations for classes 5 and 8 were announced by the State government.

While the government announced that no student would be detained for the first three years following its implementation, several activists and educationalists questioned the need for Tamil Nadu to implement board exams at classes 5 and 8, burdening the students.

The State government was also questioned as to why it was implemented here when the CBSE was yet to adapt it for its schools. Unfazed, the State has decided to implement it from March 2020, meaning students of classes 5, 8, 10, 11 and 12 will write public exams this academic year.

Among their progressive reforms, the State announced that it would give the students of Class 11 the flexibility to choose and study five subjects instead of six from the 2020-21 academic year. This is similar to boards such as CBSE where students study and take up their board exams in five subjects only.

Tech savvy

Keeping in tune with technology, the School Education Department has taken to video lessons on an official Youtube Channel and with the syllabus revamp, it introduced QR codes in textbooks which were linked to content hosted by the State on the DIKSHA portal. Taking things a step ahead, the department launched their own TV Channel ‘Kalvi Tholaikatchi’ this year.

Not all initiatives backed by technology were a success. While the department had set up a dedicated portal for Right to Education(RTE) admissions early this year as a part of its transition to taking the process completely online, it was fraught with glitches. Parents found it tough to find several CBSE schools on the portal as well as had trouble getting their concerns addressed through the helpline set up for the same. By starting the process early next year, the department hopes to redress these complaints.

For the first time, the State government has appointed an IAS officer, Sigy Thomas Vaidyan, as Commissioner of School Education. She has been tasked with monitoring the quality of education and the reforms being introduced.

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Printable version | Feb 28, 2020 3:50:41 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/school-education-in-tamil-nadu-is-no-stranger-to-controversies/article30425996.ece

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