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**The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) has proposed to introduce two versions of the maths paper — one difficult and one relatively easy — for classes 9, 10, 11 and 12 from 2019 subject to NCERT and UGC approvals.**

**The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) has proposed to introduce two versions of the maths paper — one difficult and one relatively easy — for classes 9, 10, 11 and 12 from 2019 subject to NCERT and UGC approvals.**

The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) is exploring the
possibilities and proposals to introduce two versions of the mathematics
question paper so that students who aren’t keen to take up the subject in
higher studies don’t have to sit for the tougher edition in the Board Exam.

A number
of school boards overseas follow this practice. For instance, the Cambridge
International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGSCE) has a core
curriculum in each subject which is generally within the ability range of a
large majority of the students. It also offers an extended curriculum that is
designed for students who are more academically able. International Baccalaureate
(IB) also provides this flexibility.

In the last week of June the governing body
of CBSE approved a proposal to have two options - standard mathematics and
advanced mathematics - instead of the single math paper now on offer that is a
mix of standard and advanced mathematics.

Sources said the logic is that students who don’t intend to
pursue the study of mathematics would be able to avoid the tag that they aren’t
good at the subject if they score low marks in it at the high-school level. For
instance, students who want to take up engineering and sit for the IIT Join
Entrance Examination (JEE Main), JEE Advanced or any other similar exam will need
to study mathematics at the higher level. Those who aspire to study medicine
and sit for the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) or any other MBBS
admission tests will have the choice of studying the subject at the easier
level.

Under the proposed system, the advanced
mathematics paper will have more content and a higher difficulty level. According
to one member, "The idea is that students of arts and commerce may take
normal (standard) mathematics. Advanced mathematics, dealing with higher maths,
may be pursued by pure science students. It would help them in their career as
well".

The
CBSE has referred the matter to a committee that will design the syllabuses for
both papers. However, the board will have to seek approval from the National
Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) before rolling out the new
syllabuses.

CBSE
had also introduced a separate paper - applied mathematics - for Classes XI and
XII from this year under the vocational stream. This paper, which has a
practical component of 20 per cent, will continue.

Last
year, the NCERT had conducted a National Achievement Survey to assess the
skills of Class III, V and VIII students in mathematics, environment studies
and language. The survey had showed that children feared mathematics. The NCERT
is currently revising its school curriculum, which is followed by over 15
school boards across the country.

The
CBSE governing body member said the final decision on the alternative maths
papers might be announced by the end of 2018. Another
governing body member said the syllabuses for all classes would be "rationalized"
so that they were in tune with the class-wise "expected learning
outcome" conceived by the NCERT six months ago. It has been learnt from
reliable sources that there will be no reduction in the syllabuses instead; there
may be some additional content so that the students do not lag behind.

An
NCERT faculty member said the council had received 33,000 suggestions from the
public on the revision of the school curriculum. Most of the respondents have
recommended the addition of content.

Once the proposal is approved by the CBSE
internally, it will be shared with the National Council of Educational Research
and Training (NCERT) which is the body responsible for framing school
curriculum. To ensure that universities accept the two different levels
of mathematics being offered at the high school level, the proposal will also
need to be approved by the University Grants Commission (UGC).

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