HC stays CBSE move making use of NCERT books a must

PUBLISH DATE 30th July 2017

Board Cancels Order After Madras High Court's Directive

The Central Board Sec ondary Education's (CBSE) decision to re strain its affiliated schools from using private publishers' book and making it mandatory for them to subscribe only NCERT textbooks has been stayed by the Madras High Court. In an interim order on July 26, 2017, the Court slammed the Board for taking a u-turn from its earlier stand allowing them to use private publisher's books in the middle of the session. CBSE was also held responsible for allowing the schools to buy private publishers books, without even verifying the quality , voluminosity and other contents of the books.

The association of managements of private schools, representing about 287 CBSE schools approached the High Court challenging the circular issued by the Board on April 6, 2017, mandating the CBSE schools to buy NCERT books alone for their students.

CBSE in its circular on April 6, 2017 stating that NCERT books are not obtained by the schools and that the schools must mandatorily use NCERT books alone, stated: “Therefore it is once again reiterated that the principal head of institution must pay personal attention towards implementation of usage of NCERT books in their school. It may be marked that this office may make surprise visits in the schools to ensure, it the NCERT textbooks are used or not. Also, in the event of receipt of any complaint regarding non-imple mentation of NCERT books through any source, this office will be bound to initiate action against the defaulters as per rules of the Board. Also, the parents should not be coerced to buy the textbooks of private publisher additional textbooks by the school authorities and the schools must mandatorily use the NCERT textbooks in their schools.“

CBSE in its earlier decision on February 6, 2014 stated the “The school will follow the syllabus on the basis of curriculum prescribed by NCERT CBSE and textbooks publishing by NCERT CBSE for the middle classes as far as practicable or exercise extreme care while selecting books of private publishers. Based on that the school are saying that they could choose the text books as prescribed by NCERT CBSE, i.e., either from NCERT or from private publishers.

Anil Swarup, secretary , school education, ministry of human resource development, had earlier made it clear that the government has no intention of making NCERT books mandatory . On Satur day too Swarup tweeted: “Surprised at the ongoing debate regarding NCERT books when it has been amply clarified that Govt has no intention of making them compulsory .“

Interestingly while in an response to the TOI on the matter, CBSE said that it “has not made books published by NCERT compulsory in affiliated Schools,“ the Board on Saturday in an official communication to the schools stated that in pursuance of the interim order of Madras High Court “it is informed that the circular issued by the regional office dated April 6, 2017, conveying mandatory use of NCERT textbooks by CBSE schools now stands cancelled.“

The National Curriculum Framework 2005, on which the present school curriculum is based, too spoke about the plurality of books in schools. The NCF stated that “...We must encourage alternative textbook writing in the country within the broad guidelines laid down by the National Curriculum Framework.“