The National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) is close to finalising changes in school curriculum that will not only take the focus away from rote learning but also make books thinner and bags lighter, senior officials in the apex body that oversees school curricula said on Sunday,Hindustan Times reports.
The curriculum committee of the NCERT has decided to reduce the current workload by tweaking it based on fresh learning outcomes. The plan will encourage testing the creative and critical thinking of students, according to a senior NCERT official.
“The idea is to focus on experiential learning. We want to promote a problem-solving approach. A workshop also took place recently to chalk out a plan to ensure students are not burdened physically or mentally by heavy textbooks,” NCERT director Hrushikesh Senapaty said.
He added that the body is working on reducing the content based on the recently notified learning outcomes, which are the minimum levels of learning expected of students in each class. These outcomes will help teachers monitor students against expected benchmarks.
The NCERT had recently developed learning outcomes for each class across subjects — Hindi, English, Urdu, Mathematics, Environmental Studies, Science and Social Science
Carrying schoolbags that weigh between 5 and 10 kg is common for eight- to 13-year-old children in India as most institutions insist they bring about a dozen books and notebooks to school every day.
With the added load of lunch boxes and water bottles, this can trigger back and neck strains and sometimes lifelong orthopaedic damage, doctors say.
“If they (schools) can reduce the burden it will immensely help children as shouldering heavy bags over a period of time may lead to backache and postural issues,” said Dr Prateek Kumar Gupta, senior consultant, orthopaedic and sports medicine, Sir Ganga Ram Hospital.
“The issue of bigger and heavier textbooks was discussed. At the same time, the issue of the load of non-comprehension in child is equally important. Heavy school bag creates physical burden related problems in students too,” said another senior NCERT official.
Officials said that the curriculum reduction and the revision of books will start in the end of March, once the education policy is announced.
The Union human resource development ministry had held a number of meetings last year to discuss the issue of heavy bags and of reducing unnecessary content in the curriculum.