As per the education ministry, the NCERT collaborated with 25 external experts and 16 CBSE teachers to conduct a syllabus rationalisation exercise. As a result, sections pertaining to the Mughals, Mahatma Gandhi, his murderer Nathuram Godse, mentions of Hindu extremists, and the 2002 Gujarat riots were removed from school textbooks.
Dropping several topics and portions from the NCERT textbooks has triggered a controversy with the Opposition blaming the Centre of “whitewashing with vengeance”.
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At the heart of the row is the fact that while the changes made as part of the rationalisation exercise were notified, some of these controversial deletions weren’t mentioned in them. This has led to allegations about a bid to delete these portions surreptitiously.
The NCERT has described the omissions as a possible oversight but refused to undo the deletions, saying they were based on the recommendations of experts. It has also said the textbooks are anyway headed for revision in 2024 when the National Curriculum Framework kicks in.
“Aside from NCERT in-house experts, NCERT sought the expertise of subject experts from Universities/Organisations and practising teachers in all its activities related to Research, Development, Training and Extension for wider consultation,” the ministry had said in response to a written question in Lok Sabha.
Among the most contested deletions are from history and political science textbooks for which the NCERT consulted five and two external experts respectively.
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“One round of consultation each was held with the experts, ” the Ministry had said in its response.
For History, the five experts who were consulted are Umesh Kadam, a professor of History at the Jawaharlal Nehru University and a member secretary at the Indian Council for Historical Research, Hindu College associate professor (History) Dr Archana Verma, Delhi Public School (RK Puram) teachers (Head of Department of History) Shruti Mishra, and two Delhi-based Kendriya Vidyalaya teachers Krishna Ranjan and Sunil Kumar.
For the political science textbook, the NCERT held two rounds of consultation with four experts. They were Vanthangpui Khobung, an assistant professor of political science at the NCERTs Regional Institute of Education in Bhopal; Maneesha Pandey who teaches the subject at Hindu College and school teachers Kavita Jain and Sunita Kathuria.
(With agency inputs)