New textbooks will be introduced for Classes 7 and 9 of the Maharashtra state board from the upcoming academic year, 2017-18. 25% of the history syllabus in Class 9 will now comprise of Maharashtra’s contemporary history-including the Samayukta movement and state politics, and languages will follow an activity-based approach.
Textbooks for all classes are being upgraded in a phased manner to meet the National Curriculum Framework (2005). Changes to Class 9 textbooks had to be hurried because of the new evaluation style and syllabus changes for some of its subjects. Earlier, Class 9 textbooks were scheduled for a change in the 2018-19 academic.
“We decided to revise the textbooks for both Class 7 and 9 simultaneously. Class 7 was pre-planned, while Class 9 is needed to make students ready for the reforms in next year’s exams,” said Prachi Sathe, special officer in the department.
One of the major syllabus changes is in history, which will now focus on local history after independence, along with national affairs. Previously, the emphasis was only on India’s independence struggle. “There has been a demand to make the history syllabus more relevant to the students,” said Sathe. “It’s been 60 years after independence, so we need to shed light on what’s happening now.”
Another reform is in English and other languages. Since the state board has replaced the traditional question paper with activity sheets, textbooks too need to include practical questions. “The exercises at the back of the chapters needed to be upgraded so that they can prepare students for the activity-based pattern,” added Sathe.
Similarly, from this year, science is divided into two papers to be held on different days, instead of one combined paper in the Class 10 board exam. So separate textbooks will be introduced for both the papers, said Sathe.
But the department has not yet informed schools of the upcoming changes. School principals said that they are worried about the effects of thrusting the change on teachers and students at the last minute. “There is no time to train teachers to use the new textbooks. Ideally, they should have started the training from this year itself,” said Suresh Nair, principal, Vivek Vidyalaya, Goregaon.
Class 7 textbooks will be upgraded as per the NCF 2005, they will be more colourful and contain lots of pictures to grab students' attention.