The Narendra Modi government has decided to undertake a review of school textbooks. The National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT), an organisation that assists and advises the government on school education, has started an “internal review” of the contents of these textbooks.
Council officials maintained that the review was meant to incorporate the developments in the past 10 years — such as the goods and services tax (GST) and demonetisation.
Over the past two years, changes in textbooks have been controversial.
Several BJP-ruled states, including Rajasthan, Gujarat, Haryana and Maharashtra, tweaked schoolbooks in a way that triggered opposition allegations these governments were trying to saffronise education.
Rajasthan trimmed references to the country’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru. Haryana decided to introduce moral education, authored by Dinanath Batra who is affiliated to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).
Others have included study material on RSS ideologues and tried to promote their vision of Indian culture and way of life.
NCERT officials, however, said the review of all textbooks taught from Class I to XII was meant to apprise school children of recent developments.
“An internal review has already started on what contents require changes and to ensure that they keep pace with the changes in the market and surroundings. We have an internal group working on this,” said a senior NCERT official.
Earlier, the Council used to examine and review only those books for which it received feedback, especially history, said sources.
Schools affiliated to the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), Kendriya Vidyalayas and Jawahar Navodya Vidyalayas, among others, follow NCERT curriculum.
Officials claimed that the review of textbooks was different from revising the curriculum, which was last done in 2005.
“Demonetisation which took place last year is something that the textbooks don’t carry currently. But this is something that students have to be taught. Similarly, if monsoon maps have been updated, they can be included in the books. We will know what all needs to be updated once all books are examined by our officials,” another senior NCERT official said.
“Anything that is reviewed and updated is good,” said Ameeta Mulla Wattal, Principal, Springdales School, Pusa Road.