One country, one science syllabus

Common maths, science syllabus to help students crack IIT-JEE, PMT

By Ankur Paliwal
Published: Monday 15 March 2010

imageSenior secondary school students across India will now study the same maths and science syllabus. On February 16, the Council of Boards of School Education decided to adopt a common curriculum for physics, chemistry, biology and mathematics in all senior schools beginning March 2011. The move aims to provide a level playing field to students from different state and central boards who sit for competitive exams like the ones for iits and medical colleges.

The council said these exams are largely based on the syllabus of Central Board of Secondary Education (cbse). This gives cbse students an edge over students of other boards; there are 41 school education boards in the country.
“The core curriculum in science and mathematics will ensure uniformity and equivalence of quality in school education,” said Kapil Sibal, the Union minister for human resource and development. Sibal proposed the idea for uniform syllabus in August 2009. The minister was also quoted saying history, social science and environment syllabus could vary between states and cities but he saw no reason why maths and science syllabus should be different.

The core curriculum was decided after discussions with teachers, academics and officials from all state boards, keeping in mind the syllabi on which competitive examinations are based. The curriculum is a detailed document with specific directions about the number of periods to be devoted to each chapter, said the council.

Private coaching institutes said a uniform syllabus would help. Director of Aakash Coaching Institute in Jaipur, Bhagwan Mishra, said teachers face difficulty in preparing students from different boards for common entrance tests. He cited the Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh board syllabi for biology. “The chapters on invertebrates and plant pathology is detailed in these syllabi but the cbse text just skims the subjects. Since the common entrance test is based on cbse syllabus, state board students need not study these in detail,” he said. Arindam Lahiri of Career Launcher Institute in Delhi said even 10-15 per cent variation in syllabus makes it difficult for students.

Ashok Gupta, member of the governing body of cbse, said a uniform syllabus would help students in the end but the minister seemed to think implementing it would be child’s play. “Core curriculum would mean uniform infrastructure and trained teachers across all schools in the country. This is possible but would take a lot of time,” said Gupta. He said since education is in the concurrent list, it is for the states whether they want to accept the core syllabus or not. Officials also expressed concern over budget availability.

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