New Delhi: The National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) has decided to remove three chapters from the Class X history textbook titled ‘India and the Contemporary World – II’ as a part of the second textbook review undertaken under the incumbent government.
According to a report in the Indian Express, the decision to eliminate the three chapters is a part of the curriculum rationalisation exercise initiated by the human resource development minister Prakash Javadekar to reduce the “burden” on students. The revision edition, which will be 72 pages thinner, is meant for the new academic session that began this month.
Last month, the NCERT dropped three chapters relating to caste struggles, the history of cricket and the impact of colonialism on rural communities from the Class IX history textbook.
Previously, schools had the discretion to decide which five out of the eight chapters, from the Class X textbook, to assess students on – any two from the ‘Events and Processes’ and two from ‘Livelihoods, Economies and Societies’ and any one from the theme ‘Everyday life, Culture and Politics’.
Speaking to the Indian Express, NCERT officials said that the arrangement of providing a choice to students and teachers created “confusion” when it came to assessment as which chapters were to be taught remained “uncertain”. This was also cited as the reason behind dropping the three chapters from the Class IX history textbook. NCERT officials also added that the deleted chapters will still be available online for access in digital formats.
The report also quoted former NCERT chairman Krishna Kumar, under whose term the Class X history textbook was introduced, as saying that “the textbook need not be tied to the exam,” and that “it is a resource for creating greater awareness and curiosity about a subject” and while “schools were free to select portions on which they are examined, other portions can be simply for arousing greater interest”. He also added that students were earlier provided with a choice under the National Curriculum Framework (NCR) of 2005.
Kumar also said that the chapters were included in the textbook to “arouse the curiosity of children to look at historical events in a broader context” and that removing them from the physical copy of the textbook reduces their status and importance.
One of the chapters removed from the book, titled ‘The Nationalist Movement in Indo-China’ under the section ‘Events and Processes’, detailed the rise of French colonialism in Indo-China, the subsequent rise of the Communist movement and Vietnamese nationalism and the emergence of anti-imperialist sentiment during the US war in Vietnam. The chapter aimed to illustrate the different ways in which colonial empires functioned and nationalist movements developed.
Another chapter eliminated from the textbook is ‘Work Life and Leisure’ from the section on ‘Livelihoods, Economies and Societies’ which traced the rise of industrial capitalism and its impact on urbanisation in the cities of London and Bombay along with the environmental challenges posed by the growth of cities.
The third chapter dropped from the Class X history textbook was titled ‘Novels, Society and History’ from the section ‘Everyday Life, Culture and Politics’, which examined the rise in popularity of novels and its impact on social reforms and ideas of womanhood in the West and in India.
While the Javadekar’s recommendation was to cut the curriculum by half across all subjects, the content removed from the social science textbooks is considerably more than that deleted from the mathematics and science textbooks.
Officials claim this was because students had to study much more for a 100-marks social science paper as opposed to history and mathematics and that the paper for social science, which includes history, geography, political science and economics, is common with history books having the most content. “Hence, cuts were comparatively more in history,” the NCERT official was quoted as saying.
Previously, the Narendra Modi government has been accused of ‘saffronising’ syllabus, especially in history textbooks after it was reported that the NCERT was under pressure to replace a reference to the ‘Anti-Muslim riots in Gujarat’ in the political science textbook for Class XII to simply the ‘Gujarat Riots’ in addition to changing the interpretation of Hindutva. A passage in the book which carried Vajpayee’s famous ‘raj dharma’ quote was also reportedly considered to be unnecessary.