The National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) has removed several texts on Mahatma Gandhi, Hindu-Muslim unity and RSS from CBSE Class 12 Political Science textbook for the new academic session 2023-24. The topics which have been removed from the Class 12 textbook include "Gandhiji's death had a 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".
NCERT in a statement said that no curriculum trimming has taken place this year and the syllabus was rationalised in June, last year. 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. However, the rationalisation note had no mention of excerpts about Mahatma Gandhi.
NCERT Director Dinesh Saklani said, "the entire rationalisation exercise was done last year, there is nothing new which has happened this year." He, however, did not comment on the missing excerpts which went unannounced at the time of rationalisation.
A note by NCERT on its website reads, "in view of the COVID-19 pandemic, it was felt imperative to reduce content load on students. The National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 also emphasises reducing the content load and providing opportunities for experiential learning with creative mindset. In this background, the NCERT had undertaken the exercise to rationalise the textbooks across all classes and all subjects".
"The present edition is a reformatted version after carrying out the changes. The present textbooks are rationalised textbooks. These were rationalised for the session 2022-23 and will continue in 2023-24," it adds.
Some of the reasons cited by the NCERT behind the choice of dropped subjects during rationalisation are;
- Content based on genres of literature in the textbooks and supplementary readers at different stages of school education
- For reducing the curriculum load and exam stress in view of the prevailing condition of the pandemic.
The Council has also removed subjects easily accessible to students without much interventions from teachers and can be learned by children through self-learning or peer learning and content which is "irrelevant" in the present context. An official from the education ministry said the new curriculum framework as per the NEP is still being worked out and the new textbooks as per the updated curriculum will only be introduced from the 2024 academic session.
(With PTI Inputs)