:: Report1
Curricular Areas:
The Government appears to lay considerable stress for making all citizens literate. But literacy alone may not be sufficient. It may even be dangerous. Since with the new found capacity to read and not knowing what to read, one may not only be lead astray but also may be persuaded to use the acquired information in a manner that is dangerous to the society. Therefore it is more important that the children are educated.

Indian Constitution enjoins the Government to provide free and compulsory education up to the 8th standard. This would mean that one who has undergone education for eight years will shape himself or herself into a good useful citizen i.e. the syllabi up to the 8th standard has to be such that one who has undergone successfully the eight years of education would have all the knowledge required to pursue a useful and worthy life. Therefore, the syllabus up to the 8th standard must cover all the necessary subject areas that may be useful in later life of every ordinary citizen.

Presently the syllabus is common for all students up to the end of the 10th standard i.e. up to the age of 16. It is known that all children do not have the same tastes, talents, aspirations etc. and the inherent individual differences clearly manifest themselves at the age of 10 or 11 i.e., by the time the children are in the 5th or 6th standard their needs vary from one another. The children at that age are curious to learn and are in the process of showing their preferences. If they are forced to learn something they do not like they naturally do not do well in those subjects. This does not mean they are lesser individuals but they are told by the school and the society that they are not up to the mark. This naturally has a psychological repercussion on these children. In order to save the children from such torture there has to be flexibility in the educational programme from the time a child joins the 5th or 6th standard. One option may be to start diversification at the middle school and another option may be the children may be exposed to uniform syllabus but may not be required to make the grade in all subjects but only in certain minimum number of subjects.

Subjects of Study in Schools:
It is generally accepted that the main subjects of study in schools will include languages, mathematics, sciences and social sciences. There has to be ample opportunity to learn useful arts like music, drawing, dancing etc. sports, games and several extra curricular activities. The first duty of a primary school teacher must be to teach well the mother tongue. The children while joining the school may be aware of a few hundred words in their mother tongue may be able to respond to others who speak to them, may be able to understand and express several emotions, understand the mood and tenor of the speaker etc. But they may come from diverse backgrounds and hence may know less or more number of words and may speak using colloquial words depending upon their environment at home and family background. It is the duty of the primary school teacher to make every child speak its mother tongue grammatically. Teaching of the State language if the mother tongue of the child is different from the State language will be the next most important duty. Teaching of any other language may have to wait until the child has acquired certain minimum competencies in the mother tongue and/or State language.

In respect of mathematics the school teacher must develop useful capabilities relating to numeracy, number operations, measurements, decimals, percentages etc. In addition, the curriculum must include the development of the child’s ability to think and reason mathematically, to formulate and solve problems, to find logical conclusions and do abstract thinking. At the primary stage it is important to develop a positive attitude and a liking for mathematics. The children should be made to enjoy learning mathematics. At the secondary stage, they must be made to realize the power of mathematics and its relationship to other branches of knowledge

Science is an expanding field of knowledge. It liberates the society from ignorance, superstition and poverty. As such at the primary stage, the child must be allowed to explore the world around it and enjoy learning about it. This will satisfy the curiosity of the child and enable it to observe, learn about the observed object, clarify or analyze the observation and make its own inferences. At the secondary stage, the child must be slowly introduced to the various sub disciplines and their relationships to real life, their usefulness to the civilized society and the like.

Social sciences include history, geography, economics, political science, sociology etc. A study of social sciences makes one a complete person by providing an account of the past and making one realize where he is, by introducing the geography and making one understand the physical realities and by explaining the present events and the activities of the society and making one lead a worthy life. In a pluralistic society such as ours, it is important that every social group is able to relate its special contribution to the society. At the primary stage, social sciences may be a part of the languages and other subjects. But the different sub disciplines are to be introduced to the child step by step as it moves to higher standards. At the secondary stage the different sub disciplines may be studied as distinct subjects. However, stress may have to be laid on contemporary issues and the child may be given an opportunity to understand the social aspects of the nation and the State.

Learning of Languages:
The country adopted some years ago, a three language formula. In the words of Ramamurti Committee, the three language formula “includes the study of a modern Indian language, preferably one of the southern languages, apart from Hindi and English in the Hindi speaking States, and of Hindi along with the regional language and English in the non Hindi speaking States.” Tamil Nadu State consciously rejected this formula and adopted a two language formula which includes compulsory study of English and Tamil or any modern Indian language. This paved the way for one permanently residing in Tamil Nadu not studying Tamil but yet passing all the standards and even getting a degree. In due course, this was considered anachronistic and during 2006, the State Government issued a new policy by which it made study of Tamil compulsory in the schools in Tamil Nadu.

The idea behind making every child to learn two or three languages was that every child in this country will grow up with proficiency in the State language and the official languages of the country i.e., Hindi and English. But in actual practice after several years of implementation of this policy most of the young ones are unable to read, write and fully comprehend what is stated in any of the two or three languages and are unable to speak grammatically a few sentences in any one of the languages which he is supposed to have studied and passed. Some are able to speak well one of the languages of study. Only a handful has mastered the two or three languages they have studied. As such it is only this last group that is able to fulfill the laudable aims of this policy i.e., they could understand what is written or studied in one language and translate it into another language.

Medium of Instruction:
In the English speaking countries, when someone uses the term medium of instruction, he usually ;means by it the method of teaching i.e., the conventional class room teaching or teaching with teaching aids or teaching using modern educational technology or teaching through the distance mode and the like. Only in countries such as ours, does the medium mean the language. In the words of Yaspal Committee on ‘Learning without Burden’, the question of medium of instruction will not be resolved ‘till the time our dominant and externally connected sections of society continue to give more importance to elementary graces in a foreign language, than to intimate connections with the vernacular knowledge.’

Knowledge generated in languages other than the local language can be made available to the large body of learners by translations made by a few who are trained to make such translations. One need not have any apprehensions in this possibility if one considers the fact that every day hundreds of news items in English and other languages are translated into the local languages by the local news papers throughout this country as well as the world. In conclusion, one may not take much time to accept the fact that knowledge can be imparted through any one language and the most natural language of instruction is the local language


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