CHENNAI: Amid debates that the State Board syllabus doesn’t match up to CBSE or NCERT standards, the State government is planning a major revamp by introducing STEM-based content.
The Science-Technology-Engineering-Mathematics (STEM) model, adopted by western countries, aims at integrating these four subjects based on real-world applications. A high-level meeting to discuss the same, chaired by School Education Minister KA Sengottaiyan and Secretary T Udhayachandran is scheduled for Wednesday.
“Contrary to present content-based teaching methods, which encourage rote learning, STEM helps students understand concepts and provides hands-on training,” said a school education department official. “The model requires subject-specific pedagogy. For example, to teach math, one should adopt Concrete Pictorial Abstract (CPA) approach,” the official said.
“That is, mathematical concepts would be taught by making students solve real-life problems.” To put it simply, students need not memorise algebraic equations. Rather they would be given problems on topics like interest rates and bacteriology for which they would use these formulae.
STEM was implemented as a pilot project across 320 schools in the State over the last two years, under the Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA) scheme.
According to an evaluation report on the pilot project, around 86 per cent of teachers felt students could understand concepts better with this model. Students trained under the STEM model also won the State Science Exhibition awards in all 32 revenue districts.
However, the school education department has not taken the final call in this regard. But, the success rate of the RMSA pilot project, is indicative that STEM was all set to hit the floors with a slight modification as discussions were underway to add ‘arts’ as a core subject (as STEAM).
Move overdue, but unlikely to be implemented this year
With NEET being made mandatory and a common entrance test for engineering admissions soon, syllabus revision was already overdue. Since textbooks were to be rewritten and printed based on the syllabus, it is unlikely that STEM model will be implemented in the forthcoming academic year (2017-18).
NEET study material coming in Tamil too
TN was also planning to print study material for NEET in Tamil. Unable to comprehend most questions, Tamil medium students from govt schools suffered during Sunday’s exam. Consequently, the State government will soon be coming out with a comprehensive book to help students in this regard.