The National Council of Education Research and Training (NCERT) has taken strong exception to the Council of Boards of School Education in India (COBSE) and the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) developing a common curriculum in science and mathematics.
Describing the task as its responsibility, the NCERT has asked COBSE, which comprises representatives of all state boards, and the CBSE to keep off its turf.
In its last meeting, COBSE had claimed that all state boards had agreed on having a common syllabusin science and maths and they would be working together to develop it. The NCERT's acting director, G. Ravindra, said he had written to the CBSE. "According to the National Policy on Education, framing a national curriculum is the NCERT's responsibility. It is not the job of COBSE or the CBSE," he said.
Ravindra said the NCERT had already framed the National Curriculum Framework (NCF) in 2005. "This has taken care of a common curriculum in science and maths. The NCERT has to review the curriculum every five years.
But the CBSE's job is restricted to conducting exams and implementing examination reforms, not framing curricula," he said. The CBSE and COBSE had written to the NCERT, asking it to "participate" in the process of framing a common curriculum. This led to the NCERT's objection.
The NCERT is also sceptical about COBSE's claims of a " consensus" among all the state boards on the issue.
According to the NCERT, only 18 states have accepted the common syllabus. West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh, among others, are opposed to it.
After the COBSE meeting in February, Union human resource development minister Kapil Sibal had announced that from the academic year 2011- 12, the science and mathematics curricula for classes XI and XII would be uniform across the country, claiming that a " consensus" had been reached on the issue.
Sibal had even said after science and maths, COBSE would start framing a common commerce curriculum.
This makes the development interesting because as the HRD minister, Sibal is also the NCERT president. Now on loggerheads with COBSE and the CBSE, the NCERT has chosen to take a stand contrary to the minister's.
The NCERT says the NCF curriculum it had framed in 2005 has been accepted and implemented by 14 states.
COBSE general secretary professor D. V. Sharma has said the school boards have every right to update their syllabus. The boards had asked COBSE to take up the revision and then it was carried out. " The NCERT's opposition is unnecessary.
The NCERT had sent a representative to the consultation programme on the common curriculum," he said.