Pupils want Indian boards to adopt multidisciplinary education


By Sneha TS

Multidisciplinary education gives the freedom to choose subjects from different streams

The NEP 2020 describes multidisciplinary education as its backbone

The demand for multidisciplinary education is becoming popular amongst the students of India. Many like the International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE) and International Baccalaureate (IB) has an interdisciplinary approach to education.

Ruma Mitra, Head of International Baccalaureate department at J.G School explained: “Interdisciplinary teaching is an approach where a student learns about a particular topic from different perspectives. It is a teaching method which amalgamates various fields of study.”

She added that an IB Programme unlike Indian Boards where subjects are divided as per streams, encourages students to take up a mixture of subjects. For instance a student who studies physics cannot take  up Economics or Arts.

Khushi Patel, a former IGCSE student said: “IGCSE promotes multidisciplinary learning. It helps a student when she/he decides to study abroad. Foreign Universities promote the same kind of learning.”

“Learning is fun when  students from different fields of interests or subjects collaborate. It enables critical thinking. You think about a particular issue from a science student’s perspective and may be from a commerce student‘s point of view as well. I liked Chemistry but at the same time I also had an ambition of becoming a business person. That is why I took up both business studies and chemistry in my A levels. A science student should also know basic entrepreneurship skills.”

Vishnupriya Iyer, a biotechnology student said: “I studied in CBSE board till grade 10. After that I shifted to the IB board. I personally did not like the CBSE curriculum where you are asked to choose a stream. In CBSE, you can only choose Science, Commerce or Humanities while IB is subject oriented. You have to choose six subjects and it is mandatory to take mathematics and English.”

“In subjects like Mathematics and Physics, testing is mostly application based. Like in the case of CBSE where students are required to know the formulas and values for constants by heart, in the IB this is definitely not the case. Students are provided with a data booklet with all the formulas and values required which they may use during the exam.”

Vishnupriya added: “IB diploma programs unlike CBSE make a student analytical.” 

“In order to receive the diploma as a part of Creativity, Action and Service hours. One has to write an extended essay on the subject of your choice but CBSE is only about passing examinations.”

Priyanka Shah, a former ICSE student, said: “I do not think that there is anything wrong with our boards. One should have clarity on what they want to pursue. Picking up a stream and mastering it is important. Science students need not study another stream. Their focus should be on chemistry, physics and biology. They should not be distracted by other subjects like economics or business studies. If that is the field of interest one should choose that.” 

Pavitra T., a CBSE student, said: “There is nothing wrong with stream based education. The only problem is that our education has been reduced to ‘entrance coaching classes’. It only prepares students for entrance tests. Everything is entrance oriented. Just learning formulas. I think that syllabus and subject choices (or stream) should be there. The teaching method can be adopted from International boards.”

Shilpa Thakkar, parent of a class six student said: “I chose IGCSE for my daughter. It enables students to use their knowledge of different subjects to develop a clear understanding of the topics. For example the concepts my daughter studies in Physics and Maths are aligned which makes it easier for her to understand the topic from various angles and develop her own knowledge which becomes long lasting.”

The National Education Policy 2020 also describes multidisciplinary education as its backbone stating that India has a long tradition of holistic and multidisciplinary disciplinary learning from the universities such as Takshashila and Nalanda University.


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