Switch to CBSE syllabus proves challenging for high school students in Puducherry

Abrupt implementation of a new syllabus for government school students has led to many failing classes 9 and 11.
Image used for representation.
Image used for representation.Center-Center-Villupuram

PUDUCHERRY: Transitioning from the state board to the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) syllabus, introduced for all classes this academic year, has several teachers and students from government schools in the district grappling with significant challenges. The new syllabus, introduced last year for classes 7, 8, 9 and 11, has proven challenging for many as they are set to appear for their first CBSE board examinations.

The new syllabus implementation, which was not gradual for the high-school students, has led to numerous failing their class 9 and 11 examinations conducted by the School Education Department (SED) during this academic year, despite the papers being evaluated by the same teachers who taught the students. The promotion criteria mandated students clear all the subjects, resulting in several of them being detained. Now, the SED is planning to conduct a re-examination after the schools reopen on June 6.

The new syllabus prioritises understanding the topic and applying the concepts while answering the questions. The students, particularly those with average or below-average academic performances, find the new syllabus daunting.

“For bright students aiming for NEET or JEE, the CBSE syllabus is beneficial. However, for others, it is an uphill task. They cannot understand the questions, let alone write the answers,” a teacher said.

The transition is especially demanding for Tamil medium students who now have to switch to English as their medium of instruction.
Another teacher said that the voluminous open-ended nature of the questions in the board examinations requires a deep understanding of the concepts, which not all students have.

Besides, several teachers, especially those who completed their post-graduation years ago, are reportedly struggling to prepare lesson plans.
“The textbook language is at an advanced level, making it a challenge for some teachers to comprehend the concepts,” said a senior teacher from a rural school.

Additional requirements for the instructors, mandated by a recent circular, which included uploading videos of the projects and the practical examinations along with a GPS tag on the CBSE web portal, have proven to be an added burden.

The ongoing teacher training programs, though helpful, are not sufficient for the drastic change. Another teacher sought a gradual shift to the new syllabus.

The SED officials said the department plans to conduct a three-day training session this month, focussing on teaching methodologies and practical execution.

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