Saturday, August 14, 2010



We all know about the present syllabus which has been adopted by all the schools in India. We all complain about loading our child to no limits in pursuing the syllabus. We also criticize the present system where in the teachers are always burdened and thereby they cannot keep real check on the performance of the child. Present teachers can’t give enough time per child because of crowding of classrooms. Increasing the number of divisions in each class results in burdening the teacher more and to top it the teachers themselves are required to undergo never ending participation (which is more or less compulsory) in various conferences, meetings, workshops. To top it  there is always the duty of invigilating various competitive exams held on various Sundays.

With the Right to Education (RTE) becoming a reality, the burden is going to increase more in the coming days. RTE is a positive step in providing ‘Sarva Shiksha’ to the under privileged children and should be welcomed by everybody with open hands and individual proactive contribution is required towards achieving it. To make this happen and to maintain and improve quality of education, time has come to revisit and review the syllabus which we are presently following. We should usher ourselves in thinking differently and try to impart real and practical knowledge to the aspiring child by weeding out unnecessary activities which load the child. At the same time some relevant aspects of civic sense should be introduced which can help make their moral fabric stronger.

There is a need to reorient and refocus ourselves in such a manner that the child gets a firm grounding, good upbringing and rock solid fundamentals which makes him ready for the high school education. The process of firm grounding takes place in the initial phase of schooling that is during the period the child undergoes the primary education. Therefore the syllabus is discussed here for primary schools. The higher classes may continue having the same syllabus. The broad guideline of how the syllabus should be for improving the character of the child and preparing him for the high school is discussed here.

Civic Sense and Etiquettes. This should include at least the following fundamentals required to live in a civilized society –
Develop sense of cleanliness and importance of keeping immediate neighborhood clean. The importance of throwing litter in dustbins and not littering around. Public hygiene and cleanliness should be included in the syllabus. Personal and societal hygiene should become part of such a syllabus.
A sound traffic sense and adoption of correct traffic rules should be included in the syllabus.
Include in the syllabus teachings to take pride in abiding by the rules and law of the land even in case of absence of others watching. Advantages of being in queue.
Include in the syllabus the importance of guarding the national property. Ingrain in them that burning of buses / govt property as a form of protest is not good for anybody. At the worst it is crime and at the least it is tax payer’s money which is getting wasted.
Include in the syllabus the bad habits of spitting in public places.
Etiquettes should include basics such as wishing the time of the day, saying thank you and keeping a smiling face.

Reading and Writing Skills in English and Childs’ Mother Tongue. Mother tongue of the child should be developed well. There are enough studies that if the child learns his mother tongue then the comprehension in general and learning of other languages in particular becomes easy. Learning of mother tongue should be encouraged. Here parents would play a major role. Some part of our national history may be imparted as stories in the communication classes. Instead of treating it as a language class it should be treated as class of communication skills. Concentrate in developing reading and writing skills of the child.

Mathematics.    Basic Math which includes tables, simple problems in arithmetic and geometrical shapes. The present syllabus is felt adequate.

d.   Environmental Studies (EVS).    Inclusion of following aspects in the present EVS syllabus extensively is the need of the hour – hygiene, healthy diet, importance of exercise and ill effects of ‘fast foods and beverages’. 

e.    Indian History.    The class teacher should plan this subject with deliberation. The subject should be made interesting by the class teacher by telling short stories about our Indian history. Our Nation’s 5000 year old history in the form of stories should be included in the syllabus. A child should know that our nation has at least 5000 yrs of existence and history. Presently our history starts with various invasions and ends with struggle for independence. The child should know the history of the earlier period. The child should know that even if our country was not united at that point of time, the various regions in this peninsula were bound by a common thread of ‘Hindu’ way of life. There were many attempts to unite the regions by various satraps at that time. The most successful being Chandragupta Maurya engineered by Chanakya. They were successful in cementing these vast regions of Bharatwarsh. The period was such that none of the great countries were united as they are now. Each country had its own period of clashes, wars and battles. Although historical boundaries were established, political boundaries of many countries were not established. India or Bharatwarsh had its historical boundaries established beyond doubt. Political boundaries were yet to get crystallized. The Bharatwarsh was manifested by the people leading similar way of life. There has been always a dual between mythology and history. In India there are many historical facts which have become myths over a period of thousands of centuries as our ‘way of life’ is very old. There were no records of history kept in those times. History was never officially documented nor was there any necessity felt at that time. The history though which was never documented some how was kept alive from many folklores, many legends that got evolved over a period of time. The lines between the history and mythology have blurred. The epics Ramayana and Mahabharata were actually an earlier attempt in documenting the history in a different form. Very definite moral values can be extracted from these tales, which can be used to make stronger the moral values of a child.   Ramayana and Mahabharata are the silken borders of our cultural fabric. These silk borders have made our fabric unique. These aspects should be given prominence and covered in a subtle way in the form of stories. The best way to tell this history is by way of short stories. There is no need of any examination; class teacher’s interesting lecture in the form of stories is enough to create curiosity and respect in the child about our great country.

f.  Art and Hobbies. The syllabus should include those basic arts like music, drawing, dance and drama. Hand skills like Origami, Pleistocene clay models which improves the basic skills of finger coordination should be included in the syllabus. The syllabus should be so structured so as to germinate the seed of good hobbies in the child at this young age.

    The teachers should be left free only to be with children and not burdened with additional jobs or tasks of attending workshops / meetings and additional invigilation. The time of the school should not be such that the afternoon meal timings are missed. Where there is a provision of mid day meals then the schools should be over by then. The schools can then have two shifts – morning and afternoon shift, so that correct use of the infrastructure can be optimized and more students can be accommodated. There would be a need of two sets of teachers then, but at least the infrastructure can be used twice, which is a major hindrance in many places.

    We must formulate our syllabus as per our nation’s requirements and not permanently fall in line with the ‘Macaulian’ way of learning. Here I am referring to Lord Macaulay’s ‘Minute on Education, 2nd Feb 1835’ and his views such as – “a single shelf of good European library was worth the whole native literature of India and Arabia”, though he is credited with an education system which is secular and scientific and at par with western world and in this respect he is credit worthy also. It is a matter of debate though after 63 years of freedom how secular this system has remained and how much this system connects with our grass root people, staying in far flung areas where there are is no ‘Sarva Shikshya’ yet.  One must not forget though that the underlying reason to bring in this system by Lord Macaulay if to be stated in his own language, I quote here “We must at present do our best to form a class who may be interpreters between us and the millions whom we govern; a class of persons, Indian in blood and colour, but English in taste, in opinions, in morals, and in intellect.” Remember we don’t want us to become ‘Indian in blood and colour, but British in culture and traditions’. We would like to absorb good aspects of other races but retain culture and traditions of our ‘way of life’. Our education system more or less is a factory to impart mere information on different subjects. Rather it should be vibrant enough to make a RASHTRAVRATI out of the child. Only being a rashtravrati would make a complete person. A person who thinks good for our nation and who keeps our nation first in his mind is a rashtravrati. In the words of Field Marshal Sir Philip Chetwode, when applied in our context, a rashtravrati is the one who follows–
“The safety, honour and welfare of our Nation comes first, always and every time.
The honour, welfare and comfort of the family you belong to come next.
Your own ease, comfort and safety come last, always and every time.”


1 comment:

M R Anand said...

hope some your ideas are heard by the bigwigs and they do something about it. Keep writing :-)