SHIVAMOGGA/BENGALURU: The Department of Pre-university Education’s decision to adopt a full syllabus — in place of a condensed one — has put students, teachers and parents in a fix.
In a circular, the department has instructed students appearing for second-year PU exams in March to prepare for questions based on the comprehensive syllabus and not the condensed one, which it calls a ‘blow-up syllabus’.
The government switched from a state board syllabus to a more advanced one, recommended by the National Council for Education, Research and Training (NCERT) two years ago. Since PCMB (physics, chemistry, mathematics and biology) students found it difficult to cope with it, the department cut down its extent.
Chapters then left out will have to be taught now. The circular from PU Department director Sushma Godbole, dated January 4, directs faculty to keep in mind the full syllabus even when they conduct the preparatory exams, saying this would help students face their final exams and CET with greater confidence.
Officials dismissed criticism that the teachers needed training, saying faculty at government colleges were now equipped to teach the full syllabus, thanks to sessions with ‘master trainers’.
A teacher said the last-minute decision would affect students. “Practical exams start from February 4, and the students have to gear up for their preparatory exams, final exams and CET,” he said.
Students have to attend classes for an additional 80-100 hours to complete the syllabus, the teacher estimated.
S S Bosco, retired professor of Mathematics, Aloysius College, Mangaluru, said, “The state government introduced the NCERT syllabus two years ago. But after one year, it realised students could not cope with it and condensed it. Now, they want colleges to cover the entire syllabus.”
Exams for the second year pre-university course are due in March, about three months from now.
Students and staff are agitated over the circular, but the department is firm. In a statement, Godbole has said, “We have taken this decision for the benefit of students and it will not make an adverse impact.”
The department is ruling out the possibility of withdrawing the circular. “No need for students and parents to worry,” an official said.
According to teachers in the science stream, the full syllabus is 20 to 25 per cent bigger than the blow-up syllabus. “We have started revision. How can we cover the full syllabus now?” asked a college principal, who teaches chemistry.
If students score badly, they will blame the department, said another teacher, who was also critical of the timing.
“This is the time for students to prepare mentally to face their exams. How can they cope with extra pressure?” she said.
Nikhil, a student of Vijaya College, said, “We are worried. We don’t know whether to prepare for our exams or attend classes for the extended syllabus.”
Mythri, who studies at Seshadripuram College, said, “We cannot grasp what they teach at the last minute. Our concentration is on the final exams.”
Student groups such as Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad and All India Democratic Students Organisation are organising statewide protests, demanding withdrawal of the circular.