The chapters ‘Evolution’ and ‘Ecology’ provide the foundational knowledge to help understand a zoonotic pandemic like COVID-19.
The Indian Society of Evolutionary Biologists (ISEB) has reprimanded the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) for its decision to scrap chapters on evolution and ecology from the Biology curriculum for the academic year 2020-21.
The chapters ‘Evolution’ and ‘Ecology’ provide the foundational knowledge to help understand a zoonotic pandemic like COVID-19. ISEB in its statement raised concerns over the curtailment of such chapters that are important to understand the species interactions, population dynamics, co-evolutionary dynamics, and many others.
The statement said that the removal of the chapters from the curriculum has “tragically highlighted the consequences of our neglect of evolution and ecology in school and higher education in India.” The CBSE has “rationalised” the syllabus for classes 9 to 12.
“This renders the removal of most of evolution and ecology, including systematics and the diversity of life, from the Class 10-12 syllabus not only dangerously tragic but ironic as well,” the statement further reads.
Biology would be a haphazard collection of interesting but unconnected facts, as the statement mentioned if ecology and evolution don’t exist.
“A direct consequence of our long-standing neglect of ecology and evolution in our biology curricula and research programs is the relative paucity of epidemiologists in India,” the statement noted.
Appreciating the step taken by the HRD ministry to reduce the syllabus by 30 percent to make up for the academic loss caused due to COVID-19 pandemic, ISEB, however, points out that the removal of the “entire central topics is not the way to achieve that goal.” The society further suggested CBSE reconsider the present scheme of deleting the entire chapters from the curriculum and said, “students are our future, and depriving them of entire chapters related to ecology, evolution, and systematics will be a serious lacuna in their education.”
Meanwhile, after the upheaval over the removal of crucial topics such as federalism, secularism, and citizenship, CBSE clarified that the removed topics will be taught in class in order to make the students understand. However, exams will not be conducted on these topics
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