The National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) recently faced criticism over reports suggesting the removal of chapters on democracy, political parties, Darwin’s theory, and the periodic table from their Class 10 CBSE science textbooks. The decision sparked a backlash from scientists and the public, leading to a clarification from the council regarding their reasoning.
The Council’s Explanation
In response to the criticism, NCERT released a statement addressing the concerns raised. They clarified that the concepts of the periodic table and evolution are still part of the overall school curriculum. The content related to these topics has been shifted to Class 11 and 12, where students will delve deeper into the specifics. NCERT highlighted that feedback from teachers and stakeholders indicated that certain concepts could be better understood by students when taught at an appropriate stage, rather than being introduced at different stages.
Considerations and Pandemic Impact
NCERT further explained that their decision to rearrange the curriculum was influenced, in part, by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The council sought to streamline the contents of textbooks based on various criteria, such as content overlap, difficulty level, relevance, and whether the material can be self or peer-taught. This exercise aimed to ensure that students’ learning was not disrupted amidst the shift to alternative learning modes.
Relevance of Prior Knowledge
According to NCERT, the fundamental concepts related to elements, symbols, compounds, atoms, and molecules are covered in Class 9. In Class 10, topics such as chemical reactions, acids, bases, salts, metals, non-metals, and carbon compounds are discussed, providing a strong foundation for further studies. The council stated that the periodic classification of elements and the theory of evolution, while important, can be introduced at a more age-appropriate level in higher classes.
Scientific Community Response
The removal of chapters and subjects from the Class 10 curriculum drew criticism from the scientific community. Concerns were raised that India could face a regression into an era of limited scientific knowledge if immediate action is not taken. Scientists cautioned that the understanding of fundamental scientific concepts, including the periodic table and evolution, is crucial for building a strong scientific foundation among students.
The controversy surrounding the removal of the periodic table and evolution from the Class 10 curriculum highlights the importance of a well-rounded education that includes scientific principles. While NCERT explained their decision based on feedback and the need for age-appropriate learning, concerns from the scientific community underline the significance of ensuring students have access to essential scientific knowledge. Striking a balance between curriculum optimization and comprehensive learning will be essential for shaping future generations equipped with scientific literacy and critical thinking skills.
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