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regular-article-logo Friday, 23 February 2024

Controversy around NCERT textbooks' rationalisation unwarranted: Jawaharlal Nehru University VC

It is very unfortunate that politicians are trying to make rationalisation a political issue, said Santishree D Pandit

PTI New Delhi Published 16.06.23, 07:54 PM
Representational image

Representational image File image

The recent controversy around the rationalisation of NCERT textbooks is "unwarranted", said JNU vice-chancellor Santishree D Pandit on Friday, asserting that the revised syllabus must include new "discoveries and knowledge".

Her remarks come a day after a group of academicians, who were part of the textbook development committees of the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT), wrote to the council demanding that their names be dropped from books as their "collective effort is in jeopardy".

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The recent developments after the rationalisation are part of the cancel culture where a section believes that what they say should be the last word and nobody else have the right to have an opinion, Pandit told PTI Video.

A couple of days ago, a number of academicians and political scientists like Yogendra Yadav and Suhas Palshikar asked the NCERT to drop their names from textbooks over "several substantive revisions of the original texts".

"The recent controversy on the NCERT textbook is totally unwarranted. The reason being that no book is contributed to a single author," the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) VC said.

It is very "unfortunate" that politicians are trying to make rationalisation a political issue, she said.

It is people who rationalise the syllabus, the revision of the syllabus is a must. The last time a revision was done was in 2006 and that cannot last forever. You have to keep changing according to new discoveries and knowledge, she remarked.

"It is very much in keeping the type of conspiracy and cancel culture saying that what they say should be the last word and nobody else have the right to have an opinion and a group of historians is right in everything," she added.

As many as 73 academicians, including vice-chancellors of central universities, National Institutes of Technology (NIT) directors and Indian Institutes of Management (IIM) chairpersons, on Thursday, termed the withdrawal of names over the NCERT textbook row a "spectacle" by some "arrogant and self-interested" people.

They also alleged that it was disrupting the much-needed process of updating the curriculum.

The dropping of several topics and portions from NCERT textbooks last month triggered a controversy, with the Opposition blaming the BJP-led Centre for "whitewashing with vengeance".

At the heart of the controversy was that while the changes made as part of the rationalisation exercise were notified, some of the controversial deletions were not even mentioned, leading to allegations about a bid to delete these portions surreptitiously.

The NCERT had described the omissions as a possible oversight but refused to undo the deletions, saying they were based on the recommendations of experts.

It also said the textbooks were anyway headed for revision in 2024, the year when the National Curriculum Framework kicks in. However, it subsequently changed its stand and said "minor changes need not be notified".

Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by The Telegraph Online staff and has been published from a syndicated feed.

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