State primary schools embrace semester system

Education Department introduces new pattern for Classes VI-VIII, likely to include Classes I-V from next session

Even as the semester system introduced in all the postgraduate and undergraduate courses is still being debated and evaluated, the state Education Department has implemented this system in primary schools across Gujarat. From the current academic session, Classes VI-VIII in all the primary schools across the state will follow the new pattern.

The department, which is running a pilot study on this for Classes I-V in over 500 schools, is likely to expand it further up to Class I from the next session.

Not only separate textbooks have been introduced for these classes but also separate teachers' edition helpbooks for each class has been prepared and distributed among the teachers.

Haresh Chaudhary, co-ordinator at the Gujarat Council of Educational Research and Training (GCERT) and head of a team of experts, said, "The idea behind introducing semester system in primary classes is to make education an easy and simple process without putting stress on students, especially of primary classes. Replacing the annual (exam) system with semester will reduce the content load as the curriculum has been divided into two and the students are now required to prepare only half of what they used to in the annual system."

Pointing out advantages of the semester system, one of the members of the expert panel said, "It will provide a logistic help to the students. As with one book to study throughout the year, it was difficult for them to keep it in a readable condition. Also, as the content is divided into two books, which would be elaborate in some subjects, it is now handy for them to carry a thinner book."

Reacting to the development, Subir Shukla, former adviser to the Ministry of Human Resource Development who had played a role in developing the new curriculum for primary classes in Gujarat, said, "The fact cannot be denied that the semester system in colleges and schools is still under evaluation and being studied. It would be too premature to comment on its implementation and relevance in primary classes."

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