What History Textbooks Don’t Cover: Uncovering Lost Lessons

Image credit: The Times of India

In the wake of the National Education Policy 2020, the autonomous organisation for qualitative improvement in school education, National Council for Educational Research & Training (NCERT), has decided to drop chapters from different subjects including history textbooks. This decision of NCERT has caused uproar on the internet, with many voicing their concerns over the role of textbooks in imparting education.

Scathing reports and opinions have started making the rounds on social media platforms as the NCERT textbooks are followed in schools, up to class 12, in the majority of schools across the country. NCERT texts are also consulted when it comes to preparing for one of the most important exams – top-level bureaucracy exams.

The details of the cuts can be broken down into the following:

From the Class 12th History book ‘Themes of Indian History-Part 2’, chapters related to ‘Kings and Chronicles; the Mughal Courts (C. 16th and 17th centuries)’, have been removed.

In the Class 11th book, “Themes in World History”, chapters like “Central Islamic lands”, “clash of cultures” and “Industrial revolution” have been cut. From the Class 10th syllabus, chapters on “Democracy and Diversity”, “Popular Struggles and Movements” and “Challenges to Democracy” have been omitted.

Content concerning Hindu extremists and Mahatma Gandhi in the class 12th political science textbook “Politics in India since Independence” have been cut out, the Indian Express has reported. The National Human Rights Commission report on the 2002 violence and the “raj dharma” remark of then Prime Minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, have also been stripped off the textbook.

NCERT explained their decision of syllabus rationalization with the need to reduce the content load on students, who are already under immense pressure due to the ongoing pandemic. NCERT director, Dinesh Prasad Saklani, told the media that the NEP 2020 speaks of reducing the content load and the textbooks will be printed in 2024, as per the new policy.

Atal Bihari Vajpayee was an 11th Prime Minister of India and a veteran leader of Bharatiya Janta Party. He is remembered for introducing the Golden Quadrilateral and improving the country’s relations with Pakistan. He held office from 1998 to 2004.

National Council for Educational Research & Training (NCERT) is the apex body established in 1961 for qualitative improvement in school education and to assist and advise the Central and State Governments on policies and programmes for school education. It acts as a clearing house of ideas and information with respect to school education and provides leadership and changes in educational system.