A day after the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) announced that it has decided to reduce its syllabus for class 9 to 12 for academic session 2020-2021 by up to 30%, the board issued a clarification on the rationalization saying that it was a "one-time measure" owing to the circumstances.
"The rationalization of syllabus up to 30% has been undertaken by the Board for nearly 190 subjects of elms IX to XII for the academic session 2020,21 as a one time measure only," the Board clarified in a statement.
The clarification comes in the backdrop of the education board facing criticism for its decision to drop key chapters like Democratic Rights, Federalism, Citizenship and Secularism from school courses.
The Board stated that the objective behind the cut in syllabus is in order to reduce the examination stress of the students due to the current situation of coronavirus pandemic leading to health emergency circumstances as well as to "prevent learning gaps."
The education board also clarified that no question shall be asked from the reduced syllabus in the Board Exams for 2020-2021, only.
"The schools have been directed to follow the Alternative Academic Calendar prepared by NCERT for transacting the curriculum. Therefore, each of the topic that has been wrongly mentioned in media as deleted have been covered under Alternative Academic Calendar of NCERT, which is already on force for all the affiliated schools of Board," CBSE said in a statement.
The Board reiterated that the topics which are being mentioned as dropped are either being covered by the rationalized syllabus or the Alternative Academic Calendar of NCERT.
On Tuesday, the reduction in the syllabus will be in terms of retaining the core concepts, the HRD minister had said.
"However the reduced syllabus will not be part of the topics for Internal Assessment and year-end Board Examination," the statement read.
Earlier today, West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee said she was "shocked" over CBSE's decision to drop topics such as "citizenship", "federalism" and "partition" in an effort to rationalise its curriculum from classes 9 to 12 amid the novel coronavirus pandemic.
She appealed to the Human Resource Development (HRD) Ministry not to curtail important lessons at any cost.
Congress leader Shashi Tharoor also tweeted: "One has to doubt the motives of those who selected the topics to drop. Have they decided democracy, diversity, secularism and "the like are more dispensable concepts for tomorrow's Indian citizens?"
Universities and schools across the country are closed since March 16 when the Centre announced a classroom shutdown as a measure to contain the Covid-19 outbreak.