Opposition slams dropping of chapters on democracy, secularism; CBSE says syllabus reduced only for this year; mixed response from academicians

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Opposition slams dropping of chapters on democracy, secularism; CBSE says syllabus reduced only for this year; mixed response from academicians


NEW DELHI: A controversy erupted on Wednesday over the reduction of syllabus by the

CBSE

due to Covid-19 situation, with the

Opposition

alleging that chapters on India’s democracy and plurality are being “dropped” to propagate a particular ideology, but the Board insisted it is a one-time measure for this academic year only and is not restricted to a particular subject as is being projected by some.

There was mixed response from various stakeholders as several school representatives welcomed the move to reduce the course load on children, while a section of academicians said it appeared to be ideologically driven. Some others said it would affect the quality of education and will work against students, especially who have to appear in entrance exams.

The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) had announced that it had rationalised the syllabus for Classes 9 to 12 for the 2020-21 session by up to 30 per cent to make up for the academic loss caused due to Covid-19.

However, it was the decision to drop topics related to Social Sciences which drew sharp reaction from opposition parties like the Congress, Left, Trinamool Congress, NCP and Shive Sena.

The Congress said removal of chapters on Federalism, Secularism, Nationalism and citizenship, which are the pillars of Indian democracy, is a crude joke on democracy and is highly condemnable.

Party spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi said it is unconstitutional and wondered if it is part of a “bigger conspiracy”.

Singhvi also said that he would challenge the action in court in his individual capacity and not on behalf of the Congress.

“It is a crude joke and a wrong step and needs to be condemned. Federalism is the integral part of the basic structure of the Constitution. Federalism and secularism are institutional and non-institutional pillars of Indian Democracy. What message are you giving to our children if you say these words do not mean much,” he said at a press conference.

CPM leader Sitaram Yechury termed the CBSE move as “atrocious” and “unacceptable”.

“Using the pandemic, Modi government is deleting sections dealing with India’s diversity, plurality, democracy etc that uphold our Constitutional values,” he tweeted.

He alleged that it is being done to advance the “RSS vision of an exclusivist, theocratic, intolerant, fascistic nation. This is nothing but the destruction of our Constitution”.

Shiv Sena MP Priyanka Chaturvedi said while reducing syllabus workload was a welcome, it should not become become an excuse to curtail different streams of thoughts.

West Bengal Chief Minister

Mamata Banerjee

also objected to the CBSE’s decision to drop topics such as “citizenship”, “federalism” and “partition” .

She appealed to the Human Resource Development (HRD) Ministry not to curtail important lessons at any cost.

As a row erupted on the issue, the CBSE said the reduction of syllabus from classes 9 to 12 has been interpreted differently.

“Contrary to some of the impressions being created, it is clarified that the rationalization of syllabus up to 30 per cent has been undertaken for nearly 190 subjects for the academic session 2020-21 as a one-time measure only,” CBSE Secretary Anurag Tripathi said.

The board claimed the objective of rationalisation is to reduce the exam stress of students due to the prevailing health emergency and prevent learning gaps. It asserted that no question shall be asked from the reduced syllabus in the board exams 2020-21 only.

“The schools have also been directed to follow the alternative academic calendar prepared by NCERT for transacting the curriculum. Therefore, each of the topics that have been wrongly portrayed as deleted have been covered under alternative academic calender which is already in force for all the affiliated schools of the board,” Tripathi said.

Delhi deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia said the CBSE should explain the rationale behind dropping certain chapters from the school curriculum.

“Social science is one discipline where there is maximum scope of controversy and I agree that no matter which topics are chosen or left out, the questions are bound to be raised. Hence the board should have been c

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