The NCERT has deleted chapters on critical issues such as climate change and monsoon from the syllabus to reduce the load on students in view of Covid disruptions in the last two years, claimed a group of college and university teachers fighting climate change. According to officials, the NCERT has trimmed the curriculum for Classes 6 to 12 to “reduce the content load” on students in light of the Covid pandemic. Around 30 per cent of the syllabi has been reduced for this academic session, they said.
The Teachers Against the Climate Crisis (TACC) claimed that the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) removed an entire chapter on the greenhouse effect from the Class 11 geography syllabus, a chapter on weather, climate, and water from the Class 7 syllabus, and information about the monsoon from the Class 9 syllabus. They demanded the NCERT reinstates the chapters and that different facets of the climate crisis be taught to all senior school students, in multiple languages and varied disciplines.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in a massive disruption to regular learning schedules all over the country … In the context of the ensuing ‘learning deficit’, it may seem understandable that the NCERT seeks to reduce students’ workload by culling material that overlaps with similar material or is ‘irrelevant in the present context’. “However, none of these concerns applies to fundamental issues such as climate change science, the Indian monsoon, and the other chapters that have been deleted,” the TACC said.
In fact, relevant climate change science is being continuously updated through thousands of peer-reviewed papers published annually and crucial compilations such as the IPCC’s latest report earlier this year as well as the first climate change report for the Indian region from the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology published in 2020, it observed. The teachers said it is extremely important that senior school students across India are conveyed the essence of such updated information in an accessible and easy-to-understand manner.
“Getting educated about how climate change is interacting with our environment and society in a range of ways, the changing weather systems, monsoon patterns and water flows, is crucial.” It is bizarre that the NCERT has decided to drop related topics from school syllabi. because that is where young people are first exposed to and develop an understanding of these issues, “said Nagraj Adve, the founder member of TACC.
Students need to understand the complexity of the climate crisis if they are to respond and engage intelligently with it, the group said. In recent years, this engagement has typically begun in the classroom. It is therefore essential that schools continue to present students with information about climate change and related issues that are accurate, up-to-date, rational, and relevant, they said.
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