Chennai: In the last decade Pluto was downgraded as a dwarf planet and was removed from the solar system. Scientists found gravitational waves and India sent missions to the moon and the Mars. But these developments found no place in physics textbooks of the Tamil Nadu State Board Higher Secondary students.
It has been a decade since the Tamil Nadu School Education Department revised its syllabus for the higher secondary students, who are expected to compete with counterparts passing out from other boards in several parts of the country.
With outdated books and examination system, which only test their memory power and not prepare them for the future, it is no surprise that students fare poorly in exams like IIT-JEE.
With NEET almost a sure thing for getting admission into medical courses from next year, educationists and former vice-chancellors urge the state government to update the state board syllabus and seek a change in the examination system.
M.Anandakrishnan, former chairman of IIT-Kanpur, told Deccan Chronicle that the current state board syllabus will never be able to equip students for national level examination.
“They don’t even have the basic competence to participate in the national level entrance examination like JEE and NEET. Our higher secondary syllabus is terribly deficient. They have to restructure the syllabus on the lines of the CBSE syllabus,” he said. He also called for the reintroduction of entrance exam in the state.
“They should reintroduce the entrance exam for professional courses in the state. Now, students only prepare for cook-book questions as they know what to expect in the examination,” he said.
He further said the students don’t develop a fundamental understanding of the subject to write the exam. “They have to move away from the examinations, which are based on book back questions. In fact, the whole world is moving towards so-called problem-based learning. Students are encouraged to create problems and solving problems, rather than simply memorising and vomiting,” he added.
A major problem in higher education is declining quality of plus two students as “they lack critical thinking skills”, said E. Balagurusamy, former vice-chancellor of Anna University. “Knowledge of physics, chemistry and mathematics is very poor among them. Science education in the state is very bad and you have to improve it to the national level,” he said, adding that the quality of teachers also have to be improved in terms of subject knowledge and teaching- learning process.
“We have to bring a new syllabus after revising physics, chemistry and math subjects, which are very important to national level examinations. The new syllabus should be better than CBSE syllabus,” he said.
“During exams, students should be able to answer on their own, not from the book. The questions should assess their ability to think and not their memory,” he urged.
However, educationist S.S. Rajagopal said changing the syllabus alone would not bring the real change. “Teachers, books, classroom teaching and examinations contribute to the learning environment. Our examinations should have application-oriented questions. Without changing our examination system we cannot bring the change,” he said.
Tamil Nadu Higher Secondary Headmasters’ Association has urged the state government to implement NCERT syllabus for classes 11 and 12. “The outdated syllabus will affect students if they have to compete with other board students in exams such as NEET and JEE. So, our syllabus needs to be enriched with latest developments,” said M. Ponmudi, President of the association.
P.B. Prince Gajendrababu, educationist and general secretary of State Platform for Common School System, said the syllabus was formulated some 12 years ago. There is a need to update syllabus in all subjects according to the recent developments.
“The classroom atmosphere and pedagogy also need to change. The attitude and aptitude of the teaching faculty must change. Every textbook needs to have latest reference material such as books and URLs the students can refer after class hours,” he said....