UGC Chairman Jagadesh Kumar on Friday slammed academicians objecting to the rationalisation of NCERT textbooks, saying there is no merit in their "hue and cry", and asserted that carrying out revisions in content is justified.
His 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 their names be dropped from books as their "collective effort is in jeopardy".
A couple of days ago also, a number of academicians and political scientists Yogendra Yadav and Suhas Palshikar had asked the NCERT to drop their names from textbooks over "several substantive revisions of the original texts".
"In the recent past, the attacks by some 'academicians' on the NCERT for revising the textbooks are unwarranted. There is no merit in the hue and cry of these academicians. The objective behind their grumbling seems to be other than academic reasons," University Grants Commission (UGC) chief Kumar said.
He said the NCERT is fully justified in carrying out rationalisation of its textbooks' contents.
"The current textbook modifications are not the only ones carried out. The NCERT has been revising textbooks from time to time in the past too. The NCERT has repeatedly stated that the revision of textbooks originates from various stakeholders' feedback and suggestions," Kumar said.
"The NCERT has also confirmed that it is developing a new set of textbooks based on the recently launched National Curriculum Framework for School Education and that current textbooks in which the contents have been rationalised to reduce the academic load are only a temporary phase," he said.
As many as 73 academicians, including vice chancellors of central universities, NIT directors and 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 curriculum updation process.
The dropping of several topics and portions from NCERT textbooks last month triggered a controversy, with the Opposition blaming the BJP-led Centre of "whitewashing with vengeance".
At the heart of the controversy was while the changes made as part of the rationalisation exercise were notified, some of the controversial deletions were not mentioned. This led 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 had also said the textbooks were anyway headed for a 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".
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