Source: IANS, PTI
The Democratic Teachers’ Front (DTF) on Friday criticised the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) for making changes in textbooks of Class 11 and 12 that include omission of some chapters on the Mughals and colonialism.
The DTF refused to agree with NCERT’s submission that omitting chapters on colonialism and the Mughals would not have much of an impact on students’ learning process. The teachers’ body also did not back NCERT’s view that the latest change in syllabus would take “a certain extra pressure” off the students.
The NCERT has also cited the impact of Covid on students across the country behind the changes in syllabus — a submission the DTF did not accept. DTF president Nandita Narain said most of the subjects in Class 11 and 12 are optional for CBSE students.
“If any student picks History in Class 11, he or she needs to develop a deeper understanding of the historical episodes in the next class as well,” she said, adding the NCERT’s claims of rationalisation and rationalisation of the curriculum have no merit.
DTF secretary Abha Dev Habib said the Constitution talks about development of the scientific perspective of the citizens, and “the NCERT’s latest move goes against this very idea”.
“… also, from this point of view, India’s pluralistic and inclusive nature for diversity cannot be saved. This approach would also eliminate any possibility of India emerging as the centre of science and technology. If ‘WhatsApp University’ is given a free hand to have its say in schools, colleges and universities in the same way, it will seriously affect Indian democracy,” she said.
In related news, a portion referring to the Gujarat riots has been dropped from Class 11 Sociology textbook by NCERT, months after it removed the reference to the 2002 communal violence in two Class 12 textbooks.
The purged paragraph from the Class 11 textbook was not announced in the curriculum rationalisation booklet notified by the NCERT last year.
NCERT Director Dinesh Saklani, however, claimed that the change was approved during the same exercise and it did not find mention in the official notification due to an “oversight”.
In the Class 11 Sociology textbook titled “Understanding Society”, the deleted paragraph talked about how class, religion and ethnicities often lead to segregation of residential areas and it then cites the communal violence in Gujarat in 2002 to illustrate how communal violence furthers ghettoisation.
“Where and how people will live in cities is a question that is also filtered through socio-cultural identities. Residential areas in cities all over the world are almost always segregated by class, and often also by race, ethnicity, religion and other such variables. Tensions between such identities both cause these segregation patterns and are also a consequence,” the purged paragraph read.
“For example, in India, communal tensions between religious communities, most commonly Hindus and Muslims, results in the conversion of mixed neighbourhoods into single-community ones. This in turn gives a specific spatial pattern to communal violence whenever it erupts, which again furthers the ‘ghettoisation’ process. This has happened in many cities in India, most recently in Gujarat following the riots of 2002,” it added.
According to Centre’s reply tabled in the Parliament earlier, 790 Muslims and 254 Hindus were killed, 223 were reported missing and 2,500 injured in the Gujarat riots of 2002.
As part of its “syllabus rationalisation” exercise last year, the NCERT, citing “overlapping” and “irrelevant” as reasons, dropped certain portions from the course including lessons on Gujarat riots, Mughal courts, Emergency, Cold War, Naxalite movement, among others from its textbooks.
The council had then announced dropping the Gujarat riots reference in the Class 12 Political Science and Sociology textbook. In the Class 12 political science textbook, two whole pages on the riots in the chapter titled “Politics in India Since Independence” have been deleted.
The first page carried the chronology of events and referred to the National Human Rights Commission’s criticism of the Gujarat government for failing to control the violence.
“Instances, like in Gujarat, alert us to the dangers involved in using religious sentiments for political purposes. This poses a threat to democratic politics,” the deleted portion read.
The second page carried a collage of three newspaper reports on the riots, along with an excerpt of NHRC’s observation from its Annual Report of 2001-2002 on the Gujarat government’s handling of the riots. Former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s famous “Raj dharma” remark in this section was also removed.
In the Class 12 sociology textbook, NCERT had dropped a paragraph under the section titled “Communalism, Secularism and the Nation-State” which described how communalism “drives people to kill, rape, and loot members of other communities in order to redeem their pride, to protect their home turf”.
Besides the Gujarat riots reference, “Gandhiji’s death had magical effect on communal situation in the country”, “Gandhi’s pursuit of Hindu-Muslim unity provoked Hindu extremists” and “Organisations like RSS were banned for some time” are among the portions missing from the Class 12 political science textbook for the new academic session.