No cut in school syllabus this academic year

The Department of Primary and Secondary Education has decided that there will be no cuts in the syllabus for students from Classes I to X for this 2021-22 academic year.

Speaking to The Hindu, B.C. Nagesh, Primary and Secondary Education Minister, said the decision was taken after consultations with teachers and stakeholders. “During the review meetings, teachers and department officials said that they have completed a significant chunk of the portion for this year as offline classes for upper primary classes and high schools have commenced,” he said.

Time for revision

The department, however, is still mapping out a plan on how teachers will cover the entire portions for this academic year. Many teachers have also expressed the importance of devoting time to revision of the previous year’s basics and bridge learning as several studies have shown that learning outcomes of students were affected in the previous academic year.

During the 2020-21 academic year, the government had reduced the syllabus by 30% for school students as the academic calendar was disrupted due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Impact on quality

Not all school managements share the government’s confidence that the syllabus will be covered in its entirety. D. Shashi Kumar, general secretary, Associated Managements of Primary and Secondary Schools in Karnataka said that they had demanded that the syllabus be cut by 15-20% this year too. “If there is no cut in the curriculum we will only be able to teach concepts very superficially. It will adversely impact the quality of teaching and learning,” he said.


He also pointed out that there was a significant delay in reopening schools, and it’s only now that schools have been allowed to function for the full day. “Until October, our teaching hours were reduced and we were not able to complete the syllabus,” he said.

Many teachers have reportedly told department officials that they would be able to complete the portions only if Saturdays are also made working days.

‘Focus on foundation’

According to education experts, schools should not focus on completing the syllabus but instead ensure that children pick up the foundational skills they have lost in the previous academic year. Nagasimha G. Rao, Director of Child Rights Trust said, “It is important to recognise that a child’s learning levels are not the same and that there is a need to change the structure of this academic year. Teachers should not be in a hurry to complete the syllabus of this academic year.”

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Sagar Biswas

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