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Thursday, November 30, 2023

NCERT removes chapters from history syllabus: What has changed and why?

The National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) has removed certain chapters from its history textbooks for classes 10, 11, and 12. This move has attracted severe criticism from various factions of the political arena. In this article, we will discuss the changes made to the history syllabus and the reasons behind them.

Which chapters have been removed?

The erased chapters are related to ‘Kings and Chronicles; the Mughal Courts (C. 16th and 17th centuries)’ from the book ‘Themes of Indian History-Part II’. From the Class 11 syllabus, chapters like Central Islamic Lands, Confrontation of Cultures, and The Industrial Revolution have been removed. Apart from this, from the Class 12 civics book Politics in India since Independence, chapters like Rise of popular movements, ‘Era of one-party dominance’ have been removed.

As per the IANS report, NCERT has also removed some paragraphs from Class 12 Political Science Textbooks pertaining to a brief ban imposed on RSS by the then government after Mahatma Gandhi’s assassination. Also, paragraphs on Gandhi’s quest for Hindu-Muslim unity provoked Hindu extremists have also been removed.

What has NCERT said about omitting chapters?

NCERT Director Dinesh Prasad Saklani has clarified that chapters on Mughals have not been ‘dropped’ from CBSE books. He said that even today, students are studying the history of the Mughals in NCERT’s class 7th book. Along with this, the history of the Mughals is being taught in Empires in section-2 of the 11th class book. And in the class 12th book, there were 2 chapters on the history of the Mughals, out of which theme nine was removed last year, while theme eight is still being taught to the students.

The NCERT chief further said that expert committees examined the books from standards 6-12. “They recommended that if this chapter is dropped, it won’t affect the knowledge of the children, and an unnecessary burden can be removed…The debate is unnecessary. Those who don’t know can check the textbooks…,” Saklani said.

Why are these changes being made?

The NCERT cited “overlapping” and “irrelevant” reasons as the basis for dropping certain portions from the syllabus. As per Saklani, the move is in line with the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020, which aims to reduce the content load. He said that NCF (National Curriculum Framework) for school education is being formed, which will be finalized soon. Textbooks will be printed in 2024 as per NEP.

Opposition’s criticism and support for the move

All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) chief Asaduddin Owaisi alleged that the Centre is erasing the past by removing Mughal history from the NCERT syllabus while China is erasing our present. BJP leader Kapil Mishra lauded the move and alleged that ‘thieves’ were being referred to as the Mughal rulers, he said that the initiative will shine a light on the ‘truth’.

Congress’s general secretary in charge for Jharkhand Avinash Pandey alleged that the decision to drop lessons on Mughal courts from the NCERT books is an attempt to change the nation’s history. Rajya Sabha MP Kapil Sibal has attacked the government and said that consistent with PM Modi’s India, modern Indian history should start from 2014.

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