New Delhi, Feb.16: The Human Resource Development Ministry has decided to overhaul the high school science and mathematics syllabi, which will now be common for all school boards from the next academic year.
At the same, the ministry also decided that, beginning 2013, there will be a common entrance test for professional courses.
Announcing these latest decisions to reform high school education, HRD Minister Kapil Sibal said here on Tuesday that most states had given their nod to the move.
The Central government believes that a common syllabi for the two disciplines would help students compete on an equal footing at national level entrance tests for various streams of specialised study.
It also decided to work towards a common entrance test for admission into higher courses, including engineering and medicine. Sibal said he met at least 20 members on the Council of School Board of Education (CBSE), the apex body for all school board and councils in the country, before deciding on implementing the core curriculum from 2011 and common entrance test by 2013.
“The apex body approved the core curriculum in science and mathematics. This will be accepted by all the state boards at the senior higher secondary level. Henceforth, the core curriculum will be taught in the science stream in all schools,” Sibal declared.
Asked whether similar common curriculum would be designed for humanities subjects, Sibal said he hoped all states agreed on it.
Level playing field
He said a common curriculum will provide a level playing field to all students as they will pursue the same course. The task force will also decide how to synergise the board and the proposed entrance examination. The CBSE body also agreed to evolve a core curriculum in commerce and arts streams in a phased manner. Common lessons will be taught in all the states while question papers will be set by the respective state boards.
“The common curriculum will bring all students from the country on a single platform -- to study a similar course and compete in examinations for IITs and medical colleges,” a ministry official said.
Pointing out that the government will set up a task force, which will decide the modalities of the common entrance tes, Sibal said the panel, expected to be set up within a month, will recommend whether the common entrance will give weightage to the marks obtained by students in their school boards.
The task force will take two years to come up with recommendations.
Now, universities are following different practices in selecting students for under-graduate courses. While some enroll students on the basis of marks, some conduct tests. Each state holds separate tests for admission to Engineering courses while elite institutes like the IITs and NITs admit students based on their merit. Similarly, medical institutions hold different types of tests.
The task force will consult school boards, IITs and AIIMS to examine whether the proposed entrance test will be able to cater to the requirements of all types of institutes, sources said. The common entrance will smoothen the admission process for Engineering courses as students will not have to appear in multiple tests. This will follow the American Scholastic Assessment Test pattern.
However, Sibal said the common test issue will be put up before the Central Advisory Board of Education for approval.