The implementation of Samacheer Kalvi syllabus (Equitable, Uniform Education System) with its focus on bringing in equality in education, has won appreciation from all corners. But, many feel that mere change in syllabus could not help achieve the goal.
With some schools following CBSE syllabus and the widening gap between the quality and facilities provided by private and Government schools, equality would be a tough target to achieve,” says R. Manimohan, secretary, Students’ Welfare Association of Parents.
With the implementation of the new syllabus and the fee structure prescribed by Tamil Nadu Private School Fee Recommendation Committee, the primary education system in the State has been witnessing ground-breaking changes since last year.
Last week saw the State Government notify the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act 2009, which guarantees free and compulsory education to all children aged between six and 14 years. This makes it mandatory for private schools to provide free education to 25 per cent of students from disadvantaged and weaker sections.
S. Vimala, English teacher, said that giving activities like coloring a rainbow for Standard VIII students is underestimating their intelligence level. The content should be chosen based on the age of students. English text for Standard IX has repetitive content on values and morals in life. The book could be improved by adding a wider selection with good works of fiction.
The maths text prescribed for Standards V and VI are very light and when the students reach VII Standard, they will find it tough because the content is of higher level,” says N. Jayalakshmi, Maths teacher.
The teachers and students are generally happy with the books, says Roshini Edward, principal, G.D. Matriculation Higher Secondary School. There is a clear shift towards activity-oriented learning and the new system puts more responsibility on teachers. Giving proper guidance to teachers is essential to make it more effective. The examination pattern has also changed as it now tests the level of understanding of students than their memory power, she adds.
According to J. Vishal, a Standard V student, he liked the syllabus because the text books are very attractive with pictures and could understand the content by reading it without anyone’s help.
Most of the activities given for us could be done with equipment easily available at home, he said.
Smrithi S., IX Standard student, G.D. Matriculation School, says she found the English text boring with poems and essays centring on the same topic.
There is no prescribed Hindi text in the syllabus. But, we are happy that the school is giving us an opportunity to learn Hindi,” she adds.
Uma Sudhakar, a parent, says that the content could be upgraded a little more. If the child is interested and have access to more resources, definitely the syllabus would be more beneficial.
According to Elango Jayaprabhu. P, Lecturer in District Institute of Education and Training, Coimbatore, the text books are reviewed to spot errors. Suggestions to improve the book have been sent to the Directorate of Teacher Education, Research and Training, Chennai.
School managements complain that the fee prescribed by the Tamil Nadu Private Schools’ Fee Recommendation Committee is inadequate to meet schools’ expenses. While parents complain that in case of many schools there is lack of transparency in accounts and they are asked to pay exorbitant amounts against the fee committee’s decision. Recently, the Committee has recommended to the Directorate of Matriculation Schools to de-recognise six schools in the State for collecting excess fee.
In most cases, parents are aware of what they are paying for and they are supporting the management in providing extra facilities like digital class rooms, quality training and extra-curricular classes, says Mr. Krishna raj.
According to Mr. Manimohan, most parents are willing to shell-out extra money if the management is genuine about the expenses. If there are no discrepancies in the accounts, why are the managements reluctant to reveal it to the public, he wonders.