Frequent changes in curriculum hit pupils & teachers alike: Academicians

VIJAYAWADA : With each change in State government, the school curriculum undergoes a transformation, leading to numerous challenges for both students and teachers. There are allegations that the new administration, keen on implementing its own reforms, often overlooks the mental well-being of the children.

The previous government, led by former Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy, introduced several reforms in the school education sector, but many teachers argue that these changes were largely ineffective and their grievances were not adequately addressed.

A significant number of teachers opposed the introduction of the Central Syllabus (CBSE) during Jagan’s tenure. The previous administration’s reforms included the implementation of English as the medium of instruction in government schools, the introduction of the CBSE syllabus, the IB syllabus, and Byju’s content. These initiatives faced substantial criticism, and now the question arises as to what steps the new government will take.

One of the most controversial reforms by the Jagan government was the removal of the Telugu language advocates who argued that children were losing touch with their mother tongue. Despite strong opposition, Jagan government maintained that parents desired an English medium education for their children. This initially impacted private schools, but they adapted quickly.

Mannam Srinivas, State President of the Telugu Nadu Upadhyaya Sangham, criticised the removal of the Telugu medium and the introduction of the English medium, stating that it hindered students’ mental development. He noted that primary school students, in particular, experienced confusion as everything in their home and society was discussed in Telugu. According to the Right to Education Act, the Telugu medium should be retained in primary education. Srinivas suggested that transitioning to an English medium in higher classes would be more beneficial. He emphasised that if this policy were applied to all schools, including private and CBSE institutions, it would yield positive results.

Regarding the curriculum, the YSRC government replaced the State syllabus with the CBSE and made preliminary moves to introduce the IB syllabus, even signing an MoU. However, with the TDP and JSP joining the NDA at the Centre, there is uncertainty about the continuation of English medium education, as the central education policy recommends the mother tongue as the medium of instruction. The decisions of the Chief Minister-designate Chandrababu Naidu are eagerly awaited, particularly given the demands from language advocates like the Telugu Language Association. Teachers recall that students previously secured NEET and JEE ranks using the State syllabus. State President of the Municipal Teachers Federation S Ramakrishna remarked that the CBSE syllabus reflects Aryan culture, encompassing North Indian history, literature, customs, geography, and languages. He pointed out that Lord Venkateswara of Tirumala Tirupati is known as Balaji in North India but Venkateswara Swami in Dravidian culture. Local names like Rangamma and Pullaiah are more familiar to children in the region. Ramakrishna advocated for starting lessons with local incidents to improve understanding and suggested either retaining the State syllabus or adapting the CBSE syllabus to include local dialects and languages.

APTF State President Chennupati Manjula criticised the introduction of the CBSE and IB policies by the Jagan government, arguing that they created confusion and increased teachers’ workloads without new appointments. She noted that school mergers destroyed primary schools and teaching posts were eliminated through Government Order 117.

Manjula urged the new government to address these issues and ensure that teachers can work with confidence and self-esteem.