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NEP norms go for a toss as Srinagar school burdens class 1st students with 19 books

Parents seek CBSE intervention
01:52 AM Apr 02, 2024 IST | Syed Rizwan Geelani
nep norms go for a toss as srinagar school burdens class 1st students with 19 books
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Srinagar, Apr 1: The parents of a CBSE affiliated school in Old City Srinagar are up in arms against the school management for overburdening the primary class students with the textbooks, in violation of the norms set in National Education Policy (NEP)-2020.

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A group of parents complained to Greater Kashmir that upon receiving the prescribed textbooks for Grade 1 students, they were surprised to find a total of 21 titles.

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“This significant number of textbooks for young learners, who have recently transitioned from UKG, contradicts established principles of child psychology and runs counter to the recommendations of esteemed policy documents such as NCFSE-2023, NEP-2020, POA-1992, NEP-1986, IEC 1964-66, and SEC 1952-53,” said a parent of the school who is a University Professor.

The parents said that the introduction of 21 titles for a learner who was recently promoted from UKG with just two titles including English phonic drill and the other Urdu or Hindi as second language as opted by the individual child is not less than a shock to his or her thought process.

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“Our concern stems from the belief that such a heavy load of textbooks may impede rather than enhance the learning process. It is our firm conviction that fostering critical thinking, creativity, and imagination among students is paramount, and an excessive number of textbooks may hinder this objective,” the parents said.

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The parents have also submitted their representation to the Principal of the school and urged the school administration to reduce the number of textbooks by 40 to 50 percent.

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“The number and nature of the materials assigned to our young learners are not only excessive but also in direct violation of established educational guidelines, particularly the National Curriculum Framework (NCF) 2023 and the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020,” reads the representation submitted by the parents.

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The representation has referred to the Page 49 of the NCF 2023 which reads: “the content for Grade 1 should primarily consist of concrete materials such as toys, puzzles, and manipulatives, fostering a play-based pedagogical approach. The focus should be on physical exploration of the classroom and outdoor space, with worksheets gradually introduced later in the stage.”

Similarly, NEP-2020 on Page number 17; clause 4.33 recommends that “Concerted efforts, through suitable changes in curriculum and pedagogy, will be made by NCERT, SCERTs, schools, and educators to significantly reduce the weight of school bags and textbooks.”

Also, NEP-2020 on Page number 17 says the foundational stage will also begin to incorporate some light text books as well as aspects of more formal but interactive classroom learning, in order to lay a solid groundwork across subjects, including reading, writing, speaking, physical education, art, languages, science and mathematics.

“However, the list of textbooks provided by the school demonstrates a clear departure from these principles. Including text books on GK, Computers, short stories, scholastic reads is a gross violation of the above policy documents,” the parents have mentioned in the representation.

The parents have stated that the material, based on complex texts, is entirely inappropriate for Grade 1 students according to the NCF 2023 guidelines.

“We urge for its removal from the curriculum,” the parents said.

The parents have opposed the inclusion of some complex textbooks like A Computer Series, Tinker Buds Series, Hindi textbooks and My First Safety Workbook for Life Skills and Value Education.

“Introducing computer literacy at such an early stage contradicts both NEP 2020 and NCF 2023 recommendations. The excessive number of workbooks included in this series is overwhelming for Grade 1 students. The introduction of three complex Hindi textbooks for children who are just beginning to learn the language is counterproductive and goes against established educational principles,” the parents said.

Parents said that the inclusion of textbooks on life skills education at an early stage is not supported by NEP 2020 and NCF 2023.

“We strongly urge for the reconsideration and removal of at least fifty percent of the prescribed titles, amounting to a more manageable workload for our children. This adjustment would allow for a greater emphasis on play, creativity and imagination in the classroom, aligning more closely with the principles outlined in the educational frameworks,” reads the representation submitted by the parents to the school.

While no school functionary was available for comments on the issue, an official of School Education Department (SED) said the parents should submit a representation to the department and the matter will be looked into accordingly.

“If need arises, we can resolve the matter with CBSE because students are a priority for us. He should not get overburdened at the early stage,” the official told Greater Kashmir.

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