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House panel calls for revamping content, design of school textbooks

A. M. Jigeesh | | | Updated on: Nov 26, 2021
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The panel feels “exaggeration” of Mughal rulers should be removed and history of Sikh Gurus and their struggle should be added in the textbooks

Parliamentary standing committee on Education, Women, Children, Youth and Sports headed by BJP leader Vinay P Sahasrabuddhe has recommended major reforms in content and design of school textbooks. A report on the subject, adopted by the panel here on Friday, is learnt to have recommended that inputs from experts from multiple disciplines should be sought to ensure balance and diversity of views in the textbooks.

“The textbooks should instil constitutional values, and should promote national integrity and unity,” a member told BusinessLine after the meeting.

The panel has also suggested specific points to be added. For instance in the VIth standard, books it wants the NCERT, SCERT and the CBSE to add that Dravidians were urbans while Aryans were rural and nomads and Aryans pushed Dravidians to southern part of country. The panel says that even Indus valley civilization is also referred to as Dravidian civilisation.

The panel also feels that the “exaggeration” of Mughal rulers should be removed and history of Sikh Gurus and their struggle should be added in the textbooks. They want the boards to add “imprisonment of Guru Nanak by Babur, compilation of Shri Adi Granth, execution of Guru Arjun Dev by Jahangir etc” in the textbooks along with “Mughal empire and religious intolerance of Aurangzab and Jahangir and martyrdom of Guru Teg Bahadur for upholding freedom of religions”.

Before teaching Karl Marx to students, the panel wants the boards to make references to Guru Nanak’s message of spiritual socialism in the textbooks and the impact of Karl Marx and VI Lenin’s teachings had on Bhagat Singh. The panel also wants to give options to students to study either French Revolution or the Russian Revolution.

‘Effective teaching’

“Mandatory standards related to text-book content, graphics and layout, supplementary materials, and pedagogical approaches should be developed. Such standards are needed for printed as well as digital textbooks,” a member said.

The panel also demanded child-friendly textbooks with use of pictures, graphics, QR codes, and other audio-visual materials, another member said.

The panel wants NCERT and SCERT to incorporate the ancient wisdom, knowledge and teachings about life and society from Vedas and other texts in the school curriculum. “Also, we have recommended that educational methodologies adopted in the ancient Universities like Nalanda, Vikramshila and Takshila should be studied and suitably modified to serve as a model reference for teachers,” the member said. Contributions of ancient India in the fields of Philosophy, Science, Mathematics, Medicine, Ayurveda, Epistemology, Natural sciences, Politics, Economy, Ethics, Linguistics, Arts, etc may also be included in the textbooks, the member added.

“The traditional Indian knowledge systems should be linked with modern science and presented in the contemporary context in NCERT textbooks,” it added.

Published on November 27, 2021

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