Union Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank has hit back at critics who alleged a conspiracy in reducing the syllabus of the Central Board of Secondary Education or CBSE amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The CBSE has reduced the syllabus up to 30 per cent for nearly 190 subjects from Classes 9 to 12 only for board exams of the 2020-21 session. The board has said no question will be asked from the reduced syllabus in the exams.
"There has been a lot of uninformed commentary on the exclusion of some topics from #CBSESyllabus. The problem with these comments is that they resort to sensationalism by connecting topics selectively to portray a false narrative," the Human Resource Development or HRD Minister tweeted today.
There has been a lot of uninformed commentary on the exclusion of some topics from #CBSESyllabus. The problem with these comments is that they resort to sensationalism by connecting topics selectively to portray a false narrative.— Dr. Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank (@DrRPNishank) July 9, 2020
Key chapters like Democratic Rights, Food Security in India, Federalism, Citizenship and Secularism have been dropped from school courses. The national education board has said it seeks to reduce burden on students amid the pandemic.
The move led to criticism that the centre was tweaking the syllabus to suit a certain narrative. West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee was among those who criticised the CBSE's move to remove those chapters. "Shocked to know that the central government has dropped topics like citizenship, federalism, secularism and partition in the name of reducing CBSE course during the COVID-19 crisis," Ms Banerjee tweeted.
The CBSE on Wednesday clarified that "each of the topics that have been wrongly mentioned in media as deleted have been covered under Alternative Academic Calendar of NCERT, which is already in force for all affiliated schools of the board".
Following up on the CBSE's clarification, the HRD Minister today said schools have been asked to follow the Alternate Academic Calendar of the National Council of Educational Research and Training or NCERT.
"The exclusions are merely a one-time measure for exams, due to the #COVID19 pandemic. The only aim is to relax the stress on students by reducing the syllabus by 30 per cent. This exercise has been carried out following the advice and recommendations of various experts and considering the suggestions received from educationists through our #SyllabusForStudents2020 campaign," Mr Nishank tweeted.
The NCERT says the Alternative Academic Calendar focuses on new ways of learning at home through interesting activities. This calendar lasts four weeks, which can be extended if needed.
"While it is easy to misconstrue exclusion of 3-4 topics like nationalism, local government, federalism, etc. and build a concocted narrative, a wider perusal of different subjects will show that this exclusion is happening across subjects," the HRD Minister tweeted.
"It is our humble request: #Education is our sacred duty towards our children. Let us leave politics out of education and make our politics more educated," he said.