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Syllabus tussle costs schools dear

Curriculum Development, Licenses and Regulations

CHENNAI:The legal tussle has cost schools and parents not just time, but money too. Starting classes two months later than usual this year, they had to spend on old text books and now on the new ones.

When the state government announced the amendment to the Samacheer Kalvi Act postponing the implementation of the common syllabus in May, several private schools rushed to place orders for textbooks under the old syllabus with private publishers. As there was but little time to get the books printed, the cost of books went up.

Now that the Supreme Court has ordered the implementation of Samacheer Kalvi this academic year, schools are being forced to either buy a second set of books – either the common textbooks or those printed by private publishers and approved by the state common board of school education. “We will use the old syllabus books for extra reading and reference material to go beyond the boundary of the textbooks.

Around 70% of our students’ parents have agreed to pay again for Samacheer Kalvi books. For the others, we would refund the money for the old syllabus books. They will be kept in the library as reference material,” said N Vijayan, correspondent of Zion Group of Schools. Schools said they also have to spend on training teachers and bringing in experts to suit their own curriculum. “Schools are likely to have spent around Rs 25 lakh only on textbooks and preparations for delivering the curriculum content this year.

Even if a common syllabus is implemented, schools should be given the autonomy to implement Samacheer Kalvi through the available books rather than be forced to buy textbooks prescribed under the common syllabus,” said Alpha Group of Institutions CEO S Alfred Devaprasad. Schools that wanted individual books said they were also being forced to buy the complete set because the regional godowns selling the books were not prepared to handle the demand for the supply of individual books. “There are no alternatives to Samacheer Kalvi textbooks for Tamil. Schools that prefer to use alternative textbooks are given no choice but to buy the complete set or wait for some more time till the books are sold on retail,” said the correspondent of a matriculation school. The Supreme Court has directed the implementation of Samacheer Kalvi by August 19.

The Times of India, August 14, 2011

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