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Flip­flop Over History Books Has Teachers, Students Fuming

The final examination in February ­March; with a major part of an academic session over, teachers now have to cover 22 chapters of Class 12 in three months

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With only three months left for board exams, Punjab chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh’s direction to the Punjab School Education Board (PSEB) to continue with old history textbooks for Classes 11 and 12 has students and teachers at their wits’ end. They are now burdened with the task of having to cover 22 chapters (Class 12) and 21 chapters for Class 11, in the limited time at their disposal.

History is an elective subject in Classes 11 and 12. About 2 lakh students of these two classes opt for the subject each year.

A history lecturer at Government Senior Secondary School, Jawahar Nagar (Boys), Ludhiana, Manveer Kaur, said, “In July, history teachers had written to the board to allow them to continue with the old textbooks. However, the board uploaded five new chapters of Class 12 on its website and directed teachers to take print-outs of these lessons,” she said.

In April, the board had restructured and realigned the history syllabus for the two classes, taking a thematic approach and merging chapters accordingly.

A look at the new syllabus made available by the PSEB, then, had shown that nine chapters related to history and socioeconomic conditions of Punjab, Sikh gurus and their teachings, origin and growth of Sikh Misls and Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s conquests, which were part of Class-12 course, were included in Class-11 textbook under the themes of foundation, evolution and transformation of the Sikh religion.

Following this move, the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) had alleged that a major portion of Sikh and Punjab history had been removed from Class-12 syllabus.

The government had formed a six-member committee to review the history textbooks. The book was withdrawn and chapters according to the new syllabus were uploaded on the board’s website.

Kaur added, “Previously, the syllabus was completed by December and we revised in the time left. With 22 chapters to be taught now, there will be no time for revision.”

‘EFFORT WASTED, CAN’T COMPLETE SYLLABUS’

Another history lecturer, Neelam, of Government Senior Secondary School, Multipurpose, Lakkar Bazaar, Ludhiana, said, “It is confusing as we have received no instructions from the board to follow old history textbooks of last year. We have already covered five chapters according to the new syllabus the board had uploaded on its website. If we revert to the old book syllabus, we cannot complete the chapters in three months.” She added, “Results will be hit.”

Saif Ali, a Class-12 student at a government school, said, “The new chapters were uploaded only in English and Punjabi. Hindi medium students have translated these. This effort will be wasted.” A Class-11 student, Sandeep Kumar, said, “I have faced a lot of difficulty as the board did not send the textbook. At this late stage, how will we cover our syllabus.”

In other parts of the state too, teachers are resentful of the decision. Rajinder Kaur, a teacher from Amritsar, said, “Since the first decision to tinker with the syllabus in April, the PSEB had uploaded three and five chapters of Classes 11 and 12, respectively on its website. Now, we have to teach students 22 and 21 chapters.”

Another teacher, who did not want to be named, said, “Old history textbooks will reach schools only in the next 15 days. Studies are being hit.”


Rajan Kumar, a Class 11 student, said, “I have studied only three lessons that were uploaded on the internet. I have little time to complete the syllabus. I have not even received the textbook.” Despite repeated attempts, PSEB chairman Manohar Kant Kalohia could not be contacted. ( Source: HT Education) 


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