Will Mathematics become an optional subject for class 10? The Bombay High Court has urged the education boards to think about making Mathematics an optional subject for tenth standard students. The HC made the observation so that students are encouraged to pursue arts or other vocational courses which do not need Maths as a prerequisite.

The suggestion was made by a bench of justices VM Kanade and AM Badar while hearing a petition by a leading psychiatrist, Harish Shetty. The petition raised concerns about the issue of students suffering from learning disabilities at school levels. It also spoke of steps that should be taken by education boards to assist such students.

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The court observed that a number of students drop out of schools after class 10 as they are unable to pass the Maths and language papers. Justice Kanade noted that subjects like Mathematics are not required in degree courses like arts and other vocational courses. “If an option is given to the students not to study Maths, it will help them complete graduation,” he said.

Speaking of the previous decisions of the Maharashtra state board, Justice Kanade said that the board till many years had a successful system where students were allowed to apply for degree courses despite having passed just least seven or eight subjects, even if it was without Maths. “We do not know why they (state board) decided to do away with it… May be they can consider reverting to the old system,” Justice Kanade noted.

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The Bombay HC bench also asked education boards to take suggestions from experts on whether the observations that it has made should be acted upon. The hearing in the case has been adjourned to July 26.

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