NCERT begins syllabus, textbook review to bridge COVID-induced learning gap

Since 2014, this is the second such review that the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) is carrying out  
Picture for representational purposes only | (Pic: Express)
Picture for representational purposes only | (Pic: Express)

To reduce the load of curriculum, especially keeping in mind how learning has been hit by COVID-19-induced disruptions, a syllabus and textbook review exercise has been taken up by the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT). It was on December 15 that the Director In-charge of the council, Sridhar Srivastava, wrote to concerned department heads about undertaking this review with the help of internal and external experts and the changes are to be put forth by December 28.

Srivastava pointed out that the pandemic has resulted in students struggling to learn via online and other modes plus, he also referred to a Parliamentary Standing Committee's observations and the National Education Policy 2020 as well.

“Though we are in the process of making our National Curriculum Frameworks, the development of new textbooks may take some time to come out. But in view of giving children the opportunity for speedy recovery in their learning continuum, NCERT needs to take a step towards rationalisation of its syllabi and textbooks for the next year across the stages. We have somewhat rationalised the textbooks at the primary stage for the next year. Given its continuity with higher stages, this exercise needs to be done in every subject area and for all the classes from VI to XII also,” Srivastava wrote, as per a report in The Indian Express.

Even the NEP 2020 states that content reduction and more flexibility is needed when it comes to the school curriculum, and emphasis on constructive as opposed to rote learning, can be accompanied by changes in textbooks.

Since the year 2014, two such review exercises were carried out by the national council. In the year 2017, the NCERT made a few additions and corrections in textbooks while in 2019, a few deletions were made, especially in History textbooks.  

It may be recalled that in 2019, the Ministry of Education had contested that deletions were indeed necessary for students to focus on other important areas like value education, experiential learning and more. This it had stated in a written response in the Lok Sabha.

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