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Member of NCTB (curriculum) professor Md Mashiuzzaman on Wednesday told Prothom Alo, once the subject-based detailed curriculum was finalised, work on writing the textbooks would be speedily completed. For the time being, only textbooks for Class 1 and Class 6 would be written because piloting the new curriculum would begin in these two classes from the next year. From the year after that, 2023, and within 2027, all classes would get new textbooks according to the new curriculum, he added.

NCTB sources say that the textbooks of the new curriculum will have lessons focused more on analysis and experience rather than memorisation. The books won't be burdened with information

Following discussions held over a long span of time, prime minister Sheikh Hasina recently approved the outline of the new curriculum from pre-primary to the higher secondary level. The new curriculum places more emphasis on on-going evaluation while learning rather than the present system of examinations. There will be changes in the weekly holiday too. There will be a two-day weekly holiday rather than just one day from the primary to the higher secondary level.

The textbooks

NCTB sources said that after the completion of certain formalities, work on preparing the new textbooks will commence from 1 or 2 October, in keeping with the new curriculum. NCTB wants to complete the writing of the new textbooks within October and then start printing. Those involved in preparing the curriculum this time will basically be the ones to write the books.

As at present, this time too, the new curriculum will have no books for pre-primary children. The new curriculum had determined 10 areas for learning language and communication and the teachers will carry out these exercises collectively with the students at this level with the help of teachers' guides.

Eight subjects have been chosen to be taught from Class 1 to 5. These are Bangla, English, Math, Science, Social Science, Religious Education, Physical and Mental Health Care, Art and Culture. However, the students will not get books on all these subjects. For now, students of Class 1 and 2 will get textbooks for Bangla, English and Math. Class 3, 4 and 5 will also get 6 books as at present. These are for Bangla, English, Math, Primary Science, Bangladesh and the World, and Religious Education. Teachers will teach the other two subjects from the teachers' guides.

The textbooks will be designed in such a manner that the propensity to memorise will be of no use. The books will not be overloaded with facts and figures. If the new curriculum can be implemented properly, there will be qualitative changes to education
Tariq Manzur, associate professor, Bangla department, Dhaka University

NCTB member (primary curriculum), professor AKM Reazul Hasan, speaking to Prothom Alo, said they have begun with the task already. The names of the books will be similar to the ones at present, but presentation of the subjects will be considerably changed.

According to the present curriculum, 12 to 14 books are taught from Class 6 to 10. Under the new curriculum, there will be 10 books on 10 subjects. These are Bangla, English, Math, Life and Livelihood, Science, Social Science, Digital Technology, Physical and Mental Health Care, Religious Education, and Art and Culture.

NCTB sources say that the textbooks of the new curriculum will have lessons focused more on analysis and experience rather than memorisation. The books won't be burdened with information. For example, the introduction of writers and poets won't be detailed with dates and figures. There will be changes in the layout, illustrations and design of the books. The students will find a reflection of their surroundings in the books.

An NCTB member, speaking to Prothom Alo, said, the number of pages and volume of the books perhaps won't be decreased much, but there will be more illustrations and such rather than excessive text.

There will be significant changes in the textbooks at the higher secondary level (Class 11 and 12) under the new curriculum. Under the present curriculum, Bangla, English, and Information and Communication Technology are compulsory subjects. Under the new curriculum, alongside Bangla and English, there will an integrated compulsory subject (comprising Art and Culture, Physical and Mental Health Care, etc).

Presently three subjects at the higher secondary level are fixed for the three disciplines -- humanities, science and commerce. But in the new curriculum, a student can chose three subjects from the three different disciplines.

According to sources in NCTB, the new curriculum will come into effect at the higher secondary level in 2026. That is why the subject selection and textbooks for this level have not been finalised as yet. However, the general concept is that exams for the first papers of three compulsory and three other subjects will be held in Class 11. Exams on the second and third papers of the other three subjects will be taken in Class 12.

Peer evaluation

According to the new curriculum, most of the evaluation from primary to higher secondary level will be carried out throughout the learning period in the educational institutions. The evaluation will be done through project-based learning, work assignments, group work, quizzes, sports, poster exhibitions and various co-curricular programmes.

The teachers will have a significant role in this system. However, students will also evaluate their peers. Citing an example, an NCTB member told Prothom Alo that under the new curriculum, an important method will be project-based learning. For instance, a class may have 30 students. The teacher will divide them into three groups and assign them to a project. After they complete their project work, this will be presented in the classroom. The teacher will give them marks and the students within each group will also evaluate each other's performance.

Tariq Manzur, associate professor of the Bangla department at Dhaka University, who is involved in drawing up the primary and secondary level curriculum, told Prothom Alo that the textbooks will be designed in such a manner that the propensity to memorise will be of no use. The books will not be overloaded with facts and figures. If the new curriculum can be implemented properly, there will be qualitative changes to education.

* This report appeared in the print and online editions of Prothom Alo and has been rewritten in English by Ayesha Kabir

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