HRD ministry to add a year to primary schooling in Maharashtra

The Union education ministry has decided to include Class V in primary schools and stretch elementary schooling till Class VIII instead of closing at Class VII. Social studies will now be introduced in Class VI, as will science and environmental sciences.

“School subjects have evolved through their own complicated histories. However, educationists the world over believe that learning in the first five years of schooling should be integrated, without subject-specific compartmentalization. Teaching children to study concepts at even younger ages in an attempt to prepare them to compete in the world is counterproductive,” said a note from the HRD ministry.

Education ministers have been asked to shift from a seven year (4+3) to an eight year (5+3) elementary education cycle by the next academic year. “It is important to provide age-relevant curricula and learning systems to our children,” said education ministry officials.

Several states keep the entry age for admission into Class I at 5 years rather than at 6 years. Children in these states face the double burden of heavy curriculum due to early entry into the schooling system, and introduction of upper primary subjects at class V itself.

The ministry feels that the faulty curriculum structure affects the quality of learning, and, often leads to a high failure rate adding to the number of drop-outs.

Most teachers felt the government was dumbing down education in the guise of easing pressure. “We introduce social studies at Class III. The current system is running smoothly. Children need to have their bearings in place, they need to know the north and the south and the local history,” said a principal of a private Mumbai school, on conditions of anonymity. For state governments, an additional class in the elementary cycle will mean expanding their overall infrastructure.

“Close to 90% of the madhyamik schools are in the private sector. Bringing class VIII to the elementary system will mean not just adding classroom, but recruiting teachers and providing mid-day meals,” said V Radha, Maharashtra’s acting school education secretary.

Source: Times of India

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