Common curricula in Science, Math draws ire of academics

Last Updated: Tuesday, March 16, 2010 - 14:48

New Delhi: The effort of the Council of
School Board of Education to push for a common curriculum in
Science and Mathematics across the country has drawn flak from
academics who believe this is an "overstep" on part of the
council, an allegation denied by it.

In a joint statement, four academicians have raised a
question over the preparation of curriculum by the COBSE,
which is a coordinating body among the school boards in the
country.
The statement has been issued by Prof A K Sharma, Prof
J S Rajput, both former Directors of NCERT, Prof N K Ambasht,
former Professor in NCERT and Prof A N Maheshwari, former
Chairman of National Council for Teacher Education.

The COBSE last month held a meeting of school boards
from the states which approved a core curriculum prepared in
Science and Mathematics. HRD Minister Kapil Sibal has
announced that similar curriculum will be prepared by COBSE on
the Commerce stream also.

"Such an attempt tends to give an impression that a
parallel curriculum is being developed as an alternative to
NCERT curriculum. We fail to understand the need for this new
effort," said the joint statement.

The NCERT has been preparing the curriculum for last
50 years in the country, it said.
"It may appear that COBSE, a coordinating body of the
Boards of Secondary Education, has overstepped its role in
developing a core curriculum largely for meeting concerns of
entrance examinations to professional courses," said the
statement.

COBSE general secretary Prof D V Sharma described the
views of the academics as "biased".

"It is a biased view taken by the academics who no
longer belong to NCERT. The school boards have every right to
update and prepare curriculum. The curriculum for Science and
Mathematics has been prepared as per the suggestions of the
school boards," he said.

The statement issued by the academics said that
National Curriculum Framework 2005, developed by the NCERT and
approved by the Central Advisory Board of Education, provides
a benchmark to the states for developing syllabi and
textbooks.

The NCERT curriculum in Science and Mathematics is the
core curriculum in the subjects mentioned. Many states have
already undertaken revision of their curricula in conformity
with the guidelines contained in the NCF, it said.

"The new attempt by COBSE has created misgivings and
confusion in educational circles, particularly so when the NCF
is already in force and students have even taken examinations
in the NCF-based curricula. We feel that this development
calls for rethinking on the part of all concerned," it said.

Sharma, however, said the NCERT curriculum was last
prepared in 2005. A lot of things have changed in the last
five years in education which need to be included in the
curriculum.

"If the boards want to update their curriculum, they
can do that. We have involved NCERT people when the curriculum
was approved," he said, adding that nothing has been done to
belittle the NCERT.

However, the academics are not ready to buy the
argument of Sharma.

"The NCERT associates with its faculty practicing
school teachers, eminent scientists, social scientists,
historians, linguists etc. in its curriculum development
initiatives. We sincerely feel that an institution like the
NCERT, which has wide ranging expertise, spread over five
decades, in all areas of school education, the like of which
is not available in any other institution in the country,
should continue to discharge its responsibility for curriculum
development," the statement said.

PTI



First Published: Tuesday, March 16, 2010 - 14:48

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