Amid the controversy over the deletion of certain texts from National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) textbooks, Kerala General Education Minister V Sivankutty has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking to review the matter.
In the letters written to the Prime Minister and Union Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan, the state minister stated that it should be ensured that children are provided a comprehensive and balanced education through text books, which is necessary to mould them as responsible citizens and future leaders.
Earlier this month, NCERT had dropped from its class 12 history textbook certain portions on Mahatma Gandhi and how his pursuit of Hindu-Muslim unity “provoked Hindu extremists”. It also left out the portion where the government placed a ban on the RSS after Gandhi’s assassination. The revision of textbooks by obfuscating facts has triggered a row.
Sivankutty pointed out that serious interventions were necessary to uphold the integrity of our education system and make the country’s rich and diverse history accessible to the younger generation.
Expressing concern over the NCERT’s decision to drop key chapters and portions from the textbooks in the name of rationalisation, he said it should be reviewed at the earliest.
In the letter, the Kerala minister pointed out that it is mentioned that the new changes are based on the National Education Policy 2020 and the unprecedented situation due to COVID-19. But, the reason for exclusion of key chapters from grades 11 and 12 textbooks and the theory of evolution from grades 9 and 10 could not be considered as academic, he said.
The omission of significant topics like peace, development, the rise of people’s movements and Mughal history was an injustice to the children, denying them an opportunity to learn and become good citizens, he added.
The development comes after, Sivankutty had indicated that the portions deleted by the NCERT were likely to be taught in state schools. The State Council of Education Research and Training (SCERT), an autonomous body of the General Education Department, is considering a decision by its curriculum steering committee to include these deleted portions in the state syllabus.
The committee, which met on Tuesday, had entrusted Sivankutty with taking a final decision on the matter after consulting with the government and Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan.