Soon, students taking the ICSE Class 10 exams may write seven and not 10 papers.
The Council of Indian School Certificate Examination (CISCE) has proposed a single science paper instead of three and one social science paper that combines history and geography.
The Indian Certificate of Secondary Education (ICSE) students currently write the most number of papers — CBSE students write five papers, while Maharashtra state board students write six.
School principals and parents, however, said this may lower the quality of the syllabi, which will reduce the edge that ICSE students currently have.
If the board finalises the proposal, ICSE students will write one integrated science paper, a social science paper that combines history and geography, compulsory English I and II papers, a second-language paper, a mathematics paper and an application subject, all worth 100 marks each.
The move could take the pressure off ICSE students, said Gerry Arathoon, chief executive secretary of the council. “Only ICSE students have 10 subjects,” said Arathoon. “We had received requests from different parts of the country to look into this.”
More than 15,200 students from the state had appeared for the ICSE exams in March this year.
The secondary exam council will put the proposal before the executive body and the general body. The proposal will be implemented once all the bodies pass it, Arathoon said.
But most school principals are against the idea of combining the science and social science papers. “It would mean reducing the syllabus and concepts in these subjects,” said Seema Buch, principal, Gundecha Education Academy, Kandivli. “This could compromise quality of the syllabi. We will take up this issue with the council,” she said. “One of the good things about the ICSE curriculum is the level of Class 10 science is very high, equivalent to the Class 12 syllabus of other boards. So, our children have an edge over others in competitive exams, especially those for engineering,” said Priti Batavia, a parent and teacher, Jamnabai Narsee School, Juhu.
Some academics said if the subjects are merged without reducing the syllabus, it will not reduce the burden on students. “Students will have to study a large syllabus for one paper. Currently, as there are separate papers, the burden is eased as papers are held on different days,” said a school principal from Ghatkopar, requesting anonymity.