Students to design their own syllabi?

Students and teachers of Delhi’s CBSE schools are ready to welcome a radical change in the system.

The CBSE has decided to handpick toppers from each year’s Std XII board exams to help teachers and NCERT experts reformulate the Std XI and XII curriculum. These students are expected to share how difficult topics can be appro­ac­h­ed better for a student’s understanding and how subjects could be made more interesting. Some of this year’s topp­ers have already been enrolled for the purpose and the ‘revised’ syllabus will be put in use next year itself.

Academicians say that this move is in line with the latest philosophies surrounding education and is sure to throw up interesting results. Ashok Pandey, principal, Ahlcon International School (Mayur Vihar), informs Metrolife, “Traditionally, students have been treated as passive receivers in the teaching-learning process.

The teacher lectures students, the latter either accept it or not and then vomit mugged up information in the exams. New thinking in education, however, says that students are active participants in the process. They should be in charge of their knowledge and teachers only facilitators. This move is definitely a step in that direction.”

Ameeta Wattal, principal, Springdales School, Pusa Road, adds, “If students are to help us design the curriculum, we could identify and introdu­ce new relevant content and see how a subject could be made more enjoyable. So many of our subjects in high school need overhauling.”

Rachna Sethi, who teaches Commerce students at Cambridge School, Srinivaspuri, concurs, “Business Studies and Accountancy have beco­me too theoretical. Even the case studies provided in NCERT books are old, dating to 1940s and 50s. Students don’t connect with it at all. If we replace those with newer examples of company issues, which students are reading about in newspapers and seeing on TV today, it could become much more interesting.”

Meritorious students, who could be part of such a panel, are excited about the inputs they can provide. Kshitij Jain of DPS (RK Puram), who topped the Science stream in Delhi/NCR this year, and is a student of IIT (D) now, says, “I always felt that some topics in Physics, like Semiconductors and Transistors, were not completely understandable. Inspite of the teachers’ efforts, we had to just cram them for exams. If we could see how to apply them in real life, we would understand better.”

Former Chairman, CBSE, Ashok Ganguly, is appreciative of the new step and says that if these students are oriented to the process of curriculum designing, it could bear results, “We frame curriculum in three segments: for class I to V, then VI to X and finally XI and XII. If these students get a good idea of the concept map, together with the experts, they can come up with an excellent curriculum.”

“These days, new knowledge is coming up in every sphere each year. This year, we have had the long-awaited discovery of the Higgs Boson particle. If we could include a chapter on that in the Physics textbook, it would make it so much more contemporary and interesting. I am sure these students will point out such new developments and lead to their inclusion in the books.”

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