Rolling back the wheel of history'

Print edition : July 01, 2011

K. PICHUMANI

P.B. PRINCE Gajendra Babu, general secretary of the State Platform for Common School System, shares his views on the Uniform System of School Education, which has hit a roadblock. Excerpts from the interview:

Is there any basis for the apprehensions over the standard of the syllabus prepared under the Uniform System of School Education?

I don't see any valid reason for these apprehensions. Though the matriculation school managements claim that their syllabus is superior, the fact remains that the syllabus for that stream has been drafted by the experts appointed by the State government since 1977. Comparative studies show that all the four streams State Board, Matriculation, Anglo-Indian and Oriental are equal in content as far as the syllabus is concerned. This has been vindicated by the study undertaken by the subcommittees appointed by the Muthukumaran Committee, too. It should also be borne in mind that in 27 States of the country, there is only a single State board, a common syllabus and a common examination at the end of class X.

The matriculation school managements have welcomed the decision.

It is true that these managements are jubilant now because they have achieved something which they could not in the legal battle last year. Many of the schools are run by politicians or persons close to them.

On what grounds do you oppose the AIADMK government's decision to revert to the old syllabus?

First of all I would like to make it clear that it is a political decision based on competitive politics. In fact, the textbooks brought out under the common syllabus are far better than the previous books in terms of content and quality production. Now that the government has decided against using them, the authors who prepared them feel insulted. The move has also disappointed students and their parents.

We perceive the common syllabus as the first step towards achieving the goal of equitable standard in education. The government has virtually scrapped it instead of carrying out other reforms to strengthen the Uniform System of School Education.

This amounts to rolling back the wheel of history in a State which is known for introducing reforms in school education in 1920 when the Tamil Nadu Elementary Education Act was introduced.

S. Dorairaj

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