First Bell | 'No intention to reduce syllabus; exams will be held as usual'

Minister C Raveendranath

The thousands of inquiries received by the minister of education are an indication of how anxious and uncertain students and parents are all over Kerala. Minister C. Raveendranath answers some of the commonly asked questions and those that are representative in nature.

Will the Plus Two syllabus be reduced in Kerala as has been done with CBSE, NEET and JEE syllabi? If the syllabus is to be reduced, will it be like that of the CBSE syllabus? If it is not aligned with the CBSE syllabus, won’t there be a problem for students taking entrance tests?

We are not intending to cut down on the syllabus. The strength of the foundation in each subject provides the impetus for higher education. If the syllabus is reduced, the foundation will be affected. By studying the full syllabus, students of Kerala will be able to excel in the entrance examinations at the national level.

How will the general examination of SSLC and Plus Two be conducted? Also how will the IT practical for class 10, the practicals for Plus Two and technical high schools be held?

The intention is to hold all the exams, including practical exams, as usual. Training for practicals will be given after class starts. It is to make preparations for all these that the teachers of 10th and Plus Two classes have been asked to report to school from December 17.

Besides the Victers digital classes, there are supporting classes at schools. For each lesson, multiple worksheets are sent via WhatsApp. As a result, students end up doing the same thing many times. Will you issue general guidelines for activities related to learning in schools? Are you giving guidelines to teachers regarding this?

The complaint from a section is that there is no sufficient support for digital learning. Another section says that the activities related to learning are too much. There is a disagreement on this. Proper guidelines will be given in this regard.

There are government higher secondary schools that don’t have a single permanent teacher. In these schools, students are not even able to get their doubts solved. There is a similar crisis in high schools/UP classes where teachers are employed on daily wages. What steps will be taken to solve this problem?

Samagra Shiksha teachers have been appointed to look into the problems of such schools. Samagra Shiksha Kerala has been tasked with addressing the lack of study support. If there are shortcomings in the current system, action will be taken to rectify the situation.

How do you plan to conduct this year’s science/maths/sociology festivals? Will there be LSS/USS/NMMS exams this year? How do you intend to conduct these exams?

We will make a decision in the coming months based on how the COVID situation is.

How will the grace mark be decided for NSS, Scouts & Guides, SPC and other extracurricular activities?

Grace marks are under discussion. A final decision has not been taken.

Kerala stands first in digital learning. Kerala has the highest number of children studying digitally on an average, according to a UNICEF study. The findings are based on a survey conducted by UNICEF in 6 states to determine the effectiveness of digital studies in the wake of the COVID crisis. The survey was conducted in Assam, Bihar, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and UP, besides in Kerala, during August-September .

What UNICEF says

Kerala stood first in digital learning as it started learning assistance centres in places where digital classes were not available, made technical facilities available using local body and MLA funds, and implemented assistance schemes with public participation.

85%: In Kerala, 85 per cent students are learning digitally. 15 per cent students are not using digital means. In other states, 40 per cent of students learn digitally.

9%: There is a 9 per cent difference in the number of urban-rural students learning using digital devices

62%: 62 per cent parents feel digital learning is not as good as learning at school; about 10 per cent feel it is better than school learning.

14%: 14 per cent parents feel the mental health of children has worsened. About 31 per cent feel the intellectual development is less than while studying at school.

45%: 45 per cent parents feel schools should be reopened immediately.

54%: 54 per cent parents feel network connectivity needs to improve

90%: 90 per cent students of public schools watch Vivters channel. This figure is only 30 per cent in private schools.

60%: More teachers in cities follow up with students by calling them up on phone than in rural areas; while it is 60 per cent in cities, the figure is 37 per cent in rural areas.

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