‘Cramped’ NCERT syllabus to be reduced by half, says HRD Minister

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Kolkata: HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar on Sunday said the government has decided to reduce the NCERT syllabus by half as it is “cramped”.
He said the proposed amendment to the Right to Education (RTE) Act, which reviews the no-detention policy and empowers states to conduct examinations for Class 5 and 8 students, is expected to to be tabled before Parliament in July. The minister also said the draft of new National Education Policy will be tabled before the Union Cabinet by the end of this month.
Along with studies, a child needs to have physical education, life skill and value education as “education is not just memorising and putting it down in answer sheet”, Javadekar said at a press conference. “Education is comprehensive, to put to use one’s cognitive and analytical abilities. That is true education… The NCERT syllabus is so cramped. Hence we have decided to reduce the syllabus by half,” Javadekar said.
The ministry have received 37,000 suggestions on classes, lessons and subjects from teachers and others and “we are working on it,” he said. This will effect a system change where a student would get time for various activities and not only for cramming information, he said. Keeping this in mind, each centrally-aided school will get sports equipment. Primary schools will get equipment worth Rs 5,000, Upper Primary Rs 10,000 and SSC and HSC level schools Rs 25,000 to emphasise relevance of sports in the school curriculum.
Similarly, every centrally-aided school will be given library grant of Rs 5,000 to Rs 20,000, he said. Javadekar said the amendment to the RTE Act would empower the states to conduct examinations for students of Class 5 and 8 and it was expected to be taken up before Parliament in July. “The Congress did not allow Parliament to function earlier and hence the draft could not be taken up so far. I am now hopeful it will come up before Parliament in the July session as all parties have supported the freedom given to respective states (to decide on detention issue),” he said. “While 25 states, including West Bengal, want the exams which I welcome… those who don’t want I also respect their freedom. I hope any change in no-detention policy will be a reality by August and it will be left for the respective state,” he said.
Asked about the National Testing Agency, which would be mandated to conduct entrance tests to higher educational institutions, the minister said, “We will get a chairman soon…. Once the complete board is set up, it will start working from the 2019 session.”