CBSE to offer legal studies in classes XI, XII

Aspiring lawyers can now start studying law in school itself. The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) has decided to introduce legal studies in classes XI and XII from the coming academic year, as a pilot project in 200 schools in India and abroad.

These schools will offer legal studies as an elective subject that students can opt for along with three other elective subjects and a language. The subject is expected to be popular among students from both humanities and commerce streams who aim to compete for admissions to the five-year integrated law programme.

"It will empower students of 21st century and open new career avenues for them in law.After a lot of brainstorming with scholars and experts, the board has decided to offer legal studies at class XI level from 2013-14. The course in the first year will be a pilot run on first-come, first-served basis. Based on the response, we will offer it to the rest of our affiliated schools," said CBSE chairman Vineet Joshi.

The board in its letter dated April 5, 2013 has written to schools interested in offering this course to their students to submit their expression of interest by April 20.

According to CBSE officials, familiarity with law enhances one's understanding of public affairs and awareness of one's entitlements and duties as a citizen. Understanding of law can encourage talented students to pursue a career in law.

The subject will include teaching of theory and nature of political institutions, nature and sources of law, historical evolution of Indian legal system, civil and criminal courts and processes, family justice system, arbitration, tribunal adjudication and alternate dispute resolution, human rights in India, international context and legal profession in India.

"Through this course the board also wants to give a competitive edge to students who wish to prepare for a career in law. Prior to opting for law in higher studies, school students will get an idea about the subject and those with aptitude," said Joshi.

Schools are expected to start teaching the subject in class XI from June 2013 and, as these students move up to class XII in 2014-15, the subject will be introduced at that level as well.