In order to carry out its syllabus rationalisation exercise, THE NATIONAL Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) consulted 25 outside experts. As part of this process, it removed passages from school textbooks that discussed the Mughals, Mahatma Gandhi, his assassin Nathuram Godse, references to Hindu extremists, and the 2002 Gujarat riots, among other topics.
The seven subject divisions of the NCERT engaged groups of these experts, consisting of two to five people apiece, and their “in-house experts” were also involved in the process, according to a written response to a Lok Sabha question dated July 18, 2022.
Opposition parties and eminent academics have questioned and criticised the omissions. According to the Ministry of Education’s response to a query from NCP MP Mohammed Faizal, the most contentious deletions are from the history and political science textbooks, for which the NCERT contacted five and four external experts, respectively. The specialists were consulted individually once, it was added.
Umesh Kadam, a history professor at Jawaharlal Nehru University and member secretary of the Indian Council for Historical Research, Dr. Archana Verma, a history associate professor at Hindu College, Shruti Mishra, the head of the history department at Delhi Public School in RK Puram, and two Kendriya Vidyalaya teachers from Delhi were the five experts who were consulted for the history textbooks.
Vanthangpui Khobung, an assistant professor of political science at the NCERT Regional Institute of Education in Bhopal, Maneesha Pandey, a political science instructor at the Hindu College, and teachers Kavita Jain and Sunita Kathuria participated in two rounds of consultations with the NCERT on political science.
Three rounds of consultations with four outside experts in the field of sociology were held: Manju Bhatt, a former professor with the NCERT Department of Education in Social Science; Achala Pritam Tondon, associate professor of sociology at Hindu College; Seema Banerjee, a sociology teacher at Delhi’s Laxman Public School; and Abha Seth, who teaches the same subject at Vasant Kunj’s DAV Public School.
The ministry responded to the Lok Sabha MP’s inquiry about why it did not consult social scientists associated with NCERT to carry out the rationalisation by stating that NCERT has informed that they seek expertise of subject experts from universities/organizations and practising teachers in all its activities related to research, development, training, and extension for wider consultation.
In addition, the NCERT met with 16 teachers chosen by the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) to review the rationalisation effort undertaken across the subject areas in the wake of the Covid-19 outbreak. The NCERT published a list of additions and deletions to the recently released reprinted textbooks in June 2022. Unfortunately, numerous deletions, including those pertaining to Mahatma Gandhi, went unnoticed until they were recently made public by The Indian Express. Content that is “overlapping,” “not relevant or outdated in the contemporary context,” “difficult,” and “easily accessible to youngsters and can be learnt through self-learning or peer-learning” are among the reasons listed by the NCERT for the deletions