The syllabus for physics, chemistry, mathematics and biology was upgraded according to the core syllabus prepared by the Council of Boards of School Education in India (COBSE). The new syllabus, largely based on the CBSE curriculum, is expected to prepare junior college students for competitive examinations like JEE and AIEEE.
Bhuvaneshwari R, senior chemistry teacher at South Indian Welfare Society’s College at Wadala said, “The performance of students has dropped in the semester exam. Students who had earlier got distinction have now scored 50 to 60 per cent. They are expected to study from two books for one paper. The portion is new and quite different from what the state board follows. It’s a grade higher. At times, even CBSE students face problems coping with it.”
“I have been requesting parents to help students cope with this situation instead of pressuring them to get high scores,” Bhuvaneshwari added.
The upgraded syllabus has emphasised the usage of international system units, symbols, nomenclature of physical quantities and formulations, which often feature in competitive examinations. According to board officials, topics that will enhance the problem-solving abilities of students have been incorporated in the syllabus.
Afroz Shattari, vice-principal of Royal college at Mira Road said, “The chemistry and biology syllabus has become vast. It’s impossible to finish it in the given academic time. While maths and physics syllabi remain almost similar, they have added new chapters and concepts in the chemistry and biology syllabi. We are gearing up for the change, but we are worried for the students.”
Teachers and students are worried that the change may cost them a seat in a college of their choice. “If the pass percentage of students falls in HSC exams, it will affect engineering admissions; most of the students will have to opt for BSc. This in turn will increase the stress on students. The board should have carried out the upgrade phase-wise. I don’t know about the next batch, but the current batch will suffer if the board does not take any corrective measures now,” said another teacher.
Ruzbea Patel (17), an HSC student, said, “I want to opt for medical. I will have to score well in my HSC examination. But with this syllabus, I’m not sure if this will be possible.”
Teachers have also alleged that training workshops for the new syllabus were not systematic. The state board has not distributed model question papers based on the changed syllabus yet, the claim.
State board officials say the change in syllabus will help students when they appear for national-level competitive examinations. “This upgraded syllabus will iron out many hurdles for students appearing for all-India level competitive examinations. There might be some problems in the beginning, but standardisation is important to avoid problems in future. At the same time, we are still reviewing the books,” said Sarjerao Jadhav, chairman of MSBSHSE.
New syllabus emphasises the usage of international system units, symbols, nomenclature of physical quantities and formulations, which often feature in competitive examinations