Confusion over adding 6th subject to secondary level curriculum

Confusion persists about introduction of a sixth subject in the compulsory curriculum of 9th standard students as the government was indecisive about its implementation nearly two years after sanctioning it.

Amid the confusion, some schools in Kashmir have included Kashmiri language as the 6th compulsory subject, leaving other students in a state of dilemma.

In 2017, the government accorded sanction to the extension of teaching of regional language – Kashmiri, Dogri and Bodhi – to classes 9th and 10th in all government and private recognised schools of J&K as compulsory 6th subject (Graded), in areas where such language are spoken as mother tongue.

As per the order, the regional languages were supposed to be included in the 2018-19 academic session for class 9th and for class 10th from the next academic session 2019-20.

An official said the government faced opposition from students and teachers over the decision citing that introduction of 6th subject as compulsory will overburden the students.

“Schools in J&K have 5-subject scheme which is uniform across the country. Even MHRD has not adopted introduction of 6th subject,” an official said.

In view of this, the education department in 2017 convened a meeting with JK Board of School Education (BOSE) to deliberate on the issue.

“In the meeting it was proposed that the previous order will be amended and students will be given a choice to choose any of the language subjects,” the official said.

He said the decision was taken keeping in view that Hindi and Urdu languages were part of the curriculum as compulsory subject.

“It was proposed that students will be given a choice to choose from Urdu, Hindi, Kashmiri, Dogri, Balti, Punjabi or Bodhi as 5th compulsory subject,” he said, adding the government didn’t amend the order despite the meeting which led to the confusion among schools and authorities.

“From the current academic session some private schools in Kashmir have included 6th subject in the curriculum.”

Amid the government indecisiveness, the JKBOSE has not printed text books of these subjects.

“JKBOSE halted printing of Kashmiri text books for secondary classes despite completing compilation and preparation of syllabus. The process was halted post government decision to amend the previous order,” the official said.

Meanwhile, a functionary in a private school said they adhered to the 2017 government order and included 6th subject as compulsory.

“We approached the authorities to clarify the doubts but we are not getting any clarification yet,” he said.

However, the government schools have not included the 6th compulsory subject in the curriculum.

“We have not received any directions from the government for introduction of 6th subject. As of now we are following 5-subject scheme,” said a chief education officer, wishing not to be named.

Director school education Kashmir (DSEK) Muhammad Younis Malik said the subject has been introduced on basis of directions issued by administrative department in 2017.

“I will still get a proper feedback about the issue,” Malik said.