Srinagar: The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) reducing by 30 percent the syllabus of classes 9-12 will detract from students’ ability to clear competitive examinations, the management at a renowned coaching institute in Jammu and Kashmir has argued.
The CBSE on July 7 announced the rebate in the syllabus for secondary and higher secondary examinations for academic session 2020-21 in view of the Covid-19 lockdown.
The board emphasised that it was a “one time relaxation” for the academic year 2020-21 only.
Nevertheless, the CBSE’s decision to exclude fundamental concepts in Science subjects does not make sense to Sourabh Kumar, Director of Academics at ‘Vidya Mandir Classes’ (VMC), a New Delhi based competitive coaching institute, which also has a centre in Jammu.
The VMC’s Jammu centre has about 700 students from across J&K who are coached for medical and engineering colleges’ entrance exams.
Kumar pointed out that fundamental chapters such as Newton’s Laws of Motion and General Organic Chemistry have been dropped from the syllabus.
“I am clueless as to how a student can learn Physics if he does not study Newton’s Laws of Motion. They have also eliminated concepts of General Organic Chemistry, without which nobody can understand organic chemistry,” Kumar said.
Among the several chapters dropped in this year’s Class 11 Mathematics syllabus are ‘Mathematical Reasoning’, ‘Principle of Mathematical Induction’ and ‘Binomial Theorem’ – concepts that fundamental to the subject.
Likewise, several chapters from Algebra, Relations and Functions, Calculus and Three-Dimensional Geometry from Class 12 Maths have been excluded from this year’s examination syllabus.
In Class 11 and Class 12 Physics, chapters on Gravitation, Laws of Planetary Motion and Waves, Electric Charges, Current Electricity, Magnetism, Alternating Current, Electromagnetic Waves, Ray Optics have been dropped.
In Chemistry, the CBSE has dropped chapters on Laws of Chemical Combination, Significance of Classification of Elements, and Environmental Chemistry from Class 11 syllabus and chapters on Chemistry in Everyday Life, Polymers, and General Principles and Processes of Isolation of Elements from Class 12 syllabus.
“Same is the case with class 9 and 10 syllabus where students will be at a disadvantage in NTSE (National Talent Search Examination) and Junior Science Olympiads,” Kumar said.
He also rubbished the CBSE’s “face-saving” statement issued after the announcement on syllabus reduction that schools had been directed to cover the dropped portion of the syllabus under the “Alternative Academic Calendar” devised by the NCERT.
Kumar questioned the logic of dropping the key concepts but asking schools to cover them at the same time.
He said that even if the syllabus is cut for this year’s competitive exams in sync with the CBSE’s syllabus cut, it will only help aspirants in the ongoing academic year while those in the next academic year will be at a disadvantage.
“What about 2022 competitive exams? If a student doesn’t study important concepts now, he or she will be affected for sure two years down the line,” Kumar said.
Significantly, while the CBSE has cut the syllabus for Classes 11 and 12, there has been no corresponding announcement yet from the National Testing Agency (NTA) for this year’s or next year’s NEET (medical) and JEE (engineering) exams.
Kumar argued there will be confusion among the students regarding the fate of subsequent NEET and JEE exams as to whether questions on the excluded topics would be asked in the competitive exams.
“If you are dropping the portion of syllabus corresponding to Organic Chemistry, how can the questions from this very portion be framed in the subsequent competitive exams?” he asked.
Kumar feels the CBSE’s decision to cut the syllabus has been made without taking on board subject experts.
“If you are skipping fundamental concepts in Science, then for sure the subject experts have not been consulted. It has been done just for the sake of announcements,” he said.
However, the president of Coaching Centres Association in Kashmir, Junaid Yousuf, who teaches at Aakash Institute, feels that the CBSE’s syllabus cut has been announced only for time being and that it will be tapered back to normal next year.
Yousuf said the CBSE’s syllabus cut might culminate in three different possibilities:
“One, they might change the competitive exams’ syllabus in sync with the CBSE’s syllabus cut. Second, they may ask the teachers to cover the syllabus by themselves but it won’t be asked in board exams. And third, they may move parts of the Class 11 syllabus to Class 12,” Yousuf said.
He further advised the aspirants to not become complacent after the CBSE’s syllabus reduction and instead try to prepare for the whole syllabus.
“The message for students is that the syllabus cut is for board exams, and they have a good amount of time to prepare for competitive exams. So, it is better to cover the entire syllabus in whatever ways possible,” he said.