EVEN AS Mumbai Association of Heads of Secondary (Higher Secondary) Schools (MAHSS) wrote to the state board seeking further syllabus reduction for students of Classes X and XII, officials at the education department and some parents feel this may not be in the best interest of students.
In the letter written on January 11, the association stated that even after the first fortnight of January, physical classroom sessions for Classes X and XII have not resumed. They said before this, the board reduced 25 per cent of the syllabus, and that it was impossible to teach the remaining 75 per cent in such little time.
While 19,524 state board schools in Maharashtra, barring those in Mumbai and Thane, resumed classroom teaching for Classes IX to XII last week, the BMC is expected to decide on reopening schools in the city on Friday. “Even if online classes were going on, many students have missed them and it is not possible for teachers to ensure that every student has understood what was taught online. That is why teachers will have to redo these lessons in a physical classroom when schools reopen and also revise them with students. It will be very difficult to teach and revise so much in so little time,” said Prashant Redij, secretary, MAHSS. This, he said, could affect the pass percentage of students taking the state board examination this year.
Government officials, however, said demands like that of the MAHSS have come from various quarters but further reduction of syllabus would be a “washout”.
Many state board schools outside Mumbai and Thane that started classroom teaching last week have encountered problems with attendance.
Class X examination of Secondary School Certificate (SSC) will be held after May 1 and Class XII Higher Secondary Certificate (HSC) examination will be held after April 15, School Education Minister Varsha Gaikwad had earlier said. With only a few months left for preparation, principals of many schools, affiliated to different boards in the city, feel students need to come back to school at least for practical examination preparation.
J Mohanty, principal of Delhi Public School, Nerul, said while teachers were already prepared with sample paper tests for pre-board examination, they awaited instructions from the government and consent from parents. He said there was no difficulty in holding pre-board examination online, parents were more concerned about practical, which, for the CBSE board, were scheduled to be held in March.
“Students, especially from Class XII, and teachers are mentally ready for exams. For practical exams, the students may come for some demo practical classes. Since they have not come to school all year, they may find it difficult if they are unable to handle the equipment properly during their practicals,” Mohanty said.
Arundhati Chavan, head of Parent Teacher Association United Forum of Maharashtra, said, “Parents are mostly concerned about schools ensuring safety measures. If schools take all the necessary precautions, parents are willing to send their children to school. For the whole year, students have had no writing practice. When they appear for examination, they will have to be able to write in the given time.”
She said parents too were not in favour of further reducing syllabus as that would mean the concepts the children learn would be that much fewer.
“Class X is the base of their education. If they learn fewer concepts, in higher classes those concepts will always be weaker,” she said.