Two days left to write to NCERT

An increased focus on extra-curricular activities is something that students want NCERT to implement.

The educational system in the country has been under fire for quite some time for its unbecoming aspects like excessive reliance on rote learning, discriminatory assessment processes, stressful examination systems and so on.

Which is why the latest move of the Ministry of Human Resource Development, asking the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) to reduce the burden of the school curriculum on students, is a welcome move.

NCERT has invited suggestions from the public on rationalising curriculum for classes I to XII to ensure all-round development of students. 

Metrolife spoke to children, parents and teachers to see what is on their wishlist.

 

What children want

Focus on performing arts tops their demand. “I want to learn skills like art, music, even cooking,” says Aparna Pais, a sixth standard student.

“I like swimming, it would be nice if I have an option to learn this in school,” she adds. 

Sim Pereira, a class tenth student at Sophia High School, feels that a focus on performing arts would help students focus better. “We can combine these with the subjects we are taught. For example, a theatre lesson would help us improve our vocabulary and add to our English-speaking skills,” she says.

“Sports is not given adequate importance in regular schools. Most teachers use PE classes to cover their portions. This has to change,” says Bharath, a class nine student.

 

What parents want

“There should be more programmes for personality development as extracurricular activities like debates improve the child’s confidence,” says Hiren Doshi, a parent.

“There should also be more frequent objective assessments with the support of digital technology,” he adds.

In the wake of rising crime rate against children, a martial arts course should be made mandatory in schools, feels Shikha Naik. “Reduction in the number of chapters in each subject and an overall reduction in the number of school hours will also be beneficial for the overall development of students,” she says.

An ability to think for themselves and increased general knowledge levels are something that Arabella S would like to see in the younger generation.

“Children are increasingly dependent on Google these days. I feel their critical and analytical skills should be honed. And community-based projects are a good way to learn some lessons. My son was involved in a sanitary pad making project where they had to give the pads to young girls in the nearby village area. Activities like these should be encouraged in all schools,” she says. Shikha too feels that children must be given a space to follow their individual interests.

“If a group of children is interested in a distinct activity, they can be given group coaching. This will enable them to have more clarity on the subject and how they can take their interest forward. It is advisable to not have exams for this so that it doesn’t turn stressful.”

 

What teachers want

A focus on extra-curricular activities is indeed necessary, says Shruthi Raj N, a teacher. “For example, there is something called as a ‘club activity’ in my school where students learn about a topic they are interested in, like yoga, dance, Vedic maths, newspaper reading and so on. I have seen how interested and happy they are in these classes. This can be implemented in schools across the country,” she says.

The public can send in their suggestions till April 30. More details are available on the NCERT website.

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