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Can school bags be made lighter?
Read the Passage Carefully and Answers the Following Questions:-
1.New Delhi: A recent news report said school children can now look forward to lighter school bags with the setting up of a 12 member committee for implementation of the Yash Pal report (1993) on curriculum load. Is this good news for children?
2. The 12-point recommendations of this Committee (1992) set up by the National Advisory Committee said everything that needed to be said and done to ease the school burden and reform education. Although the report was discussed in numerous fora, including the Central Advisory Board of Education, the school load continues. Says a child, “The pressure is worse when so much is taught just before exams.”
3. More than the physical weight of the school bag, educators are worried by ‘the load of non-comprehension’. The report had found that ‘a lot is taught, but little is learnt or understood’. This is because the curriculum is heavy, the syllabus wide and the text-books densely packed with facts and generally written in convoluted adult language that hamper communication. Besides, teachers rush through topics at a whirlwind pace as the aim of education today has crassly5 become merely to ‘cover’ the course.
4 Studies on children’s mind have revealed that it takes time for cognition to occur in all and that the child best understands and enjoys learning on its own terms. As children fail to comprehend concepts presented too fast and in the topic after topic, they end up by memorizing information which is reproduced parrot-like in examinations. Thus learning is far from being a joyful experience.
5 Middle-school geography, for instance, covers the world’s continents in such great detail (land, mineral, human and natural resources, climate, vegetation, trade, physical feature, etc.) that specialists would take at least a year to comfortably study perhaps just one-third of the course. But, school children must study all this at a breathless pace in just a couple of periods.
6 A grade seven text-book says: “The Appalachian Highlands produce large amounts of anthrax-cite and high-grade bituminous coal.” Nothing further is said to explain the big words. Neither is the teacher likely to do so.
7 Mathematics, history, science, languages—all subjects are taught with such speed that lessons on which at least two months should be spent are completed within two days. If four experiments are essential for comprehension, just one is hurriedly done. In grammar too lessons are orally explained and the children are immediately tested, marked and graded.
8 The Yash Pal report had noted: “The important thing in children’s education ought to be concept formation and growth of capacity for theory-building, rather than possession of a vast amount of information. But understanding is confused with the acquisition of facts, and information with knowledge.” The report said: “So great is the neglect of understanding in education today that a child can pass any examination without having to understand a phenomenon, but simply by cramming facts.”
9. The Yash Pal Committee had called for reviewing the syllabi and textbooks for all schools for deciding the minimum number of topics that need to be taught, the minimum number of concepts to be introduced within. It also stressed the need for experimentation and for linking topics to activities to be performed by pupils and teachers.
10. However, activity-based education that makes learning a joy needs more time allotment per topic. This means the syllabus must be slashed’ and finding solutions in class exercises rather than asking children to mug up lessons at home. This means children should be allowed to stay with a topic for a much longer time for a better understanding of problems and phenomena.
11. Recent studies have indicated that the brain best develops in an interesting environment, not when bored, but children today spend ten to eleven hours studying and have little time for anything else.
12 The Yash Pal report had called for a total change in our approach to education and redefining the aim. This means according to importance to ‘understanding’ and devaluing the importance of marks. If this is not made the priority and focus for education, no commission will be able to reduce the school load. The first step in this direction would be to review the existing text-book and see how they can be made more reader-friendly and concept-based.
1.Answer the following questions as briefly as possible:
a) Educators are worried about the physical weight of school bags and also of ‘non-comprehension’. Comment.
b) How does education today go against the basic foundation of learning?
c) Which is the most effective method of education and why?
d) What are the two major drawbacks of the present education system?
e) Why should the syllabus be slashed?
2. Select words from the above passage which convey a similar meaning to the following :
a) complicated (para 3)
b) very rapidly (para 5)
c) collection (para 8)
a) In our present-day system of education, the weight of school bags has increased because understanding is confused with the acquisition of and the information is confused with knowledge. It is attempted to stuff the child’s mind with as many facts as possible, without caring whether he comprehends them or not.
b) The basic foundation of learning lies in the capacity to comprehend. But the syllabi and courses today are so heavy that both the child and teacher have to rush through them at whirlwind speed, without giving any time for cognition.
c) The most effective method of education is to provide the child with an interesting environment in which he feels motivated to study. comprehend and build up concepts at his own.
d) The present education system puts too much burden on the mind of the children It lays stress on information rather than comprehension.
e) The syllabus should be slashed so that students get sufficient time for activity-based education.
2. a) complicated — convoluted
b) very rapidly — breathless pace
c) collection — acquisition
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