Earlier in 2017, NCERT made 1,334 changes, which included additions, correction and data update in 182 textbooks. Therefore, in the last month, the NCERT dropped three chapters relating to caste struggles, the history of cricket and the impact of colonialism on rural communities from the Class IX history textbook.
The NCERT’s new history textbook for Class 10 has three fewer chapters. The textbook is designed for upcoming academic session that began this month. This is the second time when textbook of history reviewed by the incumbent government.
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Among those deleted is one on the rise of nationalism in the Indo-China region another that narrates the history of the contemporary world through novels, and a third on the development of cities across the world.
‘India and the Contemporary World – II’, a book that had 200 pages, is now 72 pages thinner. The decision is part of the curriculum rationalisation exercise undertaken by NCERT to reduce the curriculum “burden”.
The old Class 10 history textbook had eight chapters, divided into three sections. Schools had the freedom to assess students on any five of the eight chapters — two from the section titled ‘Events and Processes’ and two from ‘Livelihoods, Economies and Societies’ and any one from the theme ‘Everyday life, Culture and Politics’.
NCERT officials claimed that the arrangement of providing a choice to students and teachers created “confusion” when it came to assessment as which chapters were to be taught remained “uncertain”. NCERT officials also added that the deleted chapters will still be available online for access in digital formats. This was also the reason dropping three chapters from Class 9 history textbook.
According to former NCERT chairman Krishna Kumar, during whose term the Class 10 history textbook was introduced, students were provided a choice as part of a new approach to education under the National Curriculum Framework (NCF) of 2005.
Kumar also said that the chapters were included in the textbook to arouse the curiosity of children to look at historical events in a broader context, removing them from the physical copy of the textbook reduces their status and importance.
According to the new approach National Curriculum Framework is that the textbook need not be tied to the exam, that it is a resource for creating greater awareness and curiosity about a subject. Hence the idea that the whole textbook need not be the basis of examination and that schools and children should be free to select portions on which they are examined, whereas other portions can be simply for arousing greater interest.
As for the confusion among teachers and students, cited by NCERT officials, Kumar said: “If you go by the approach of the NCF, then questions should be set on all chapters and children can select the ones which they have studied. So where is the confusion?”
The Nationalist Movement in Indo-China’ is one among three deleted chapter from the book, aimed to illustrate the different ways in which colonial empires functioned and nationalist movements developed. The chapter detailed the rise of French colonialism in Indo-China, rise of communist movement and the role of women in the anti-imperialist movement in Vietnam.
Another removed chapter from the textbook is ‘Work life and leisure’ from the section of ‘Livelihood, Economies and Societies, looked at the rise of industrial capitalism and its impact on urbanisation in the cities of London and Bombay. It also focuses on the environmental challenges posed by the rapid growth of cities.
The third chapter dropped from the Class X history textbook is ‘Novels, Society and History’ from the section ‘Everyday Life, Culture and Politics’, which examined the rise in popularity of novels and its impact on social reforms and ideas of womanhood in the West and in India. It also discusses how novels became a medium for reflecting the experiences of the downtrodden, which had not received much attention in the literary scene earlier.
Although Javadekar’s recommendation to NCERT was to cut the curriculum by half across all subjects, NCERT reduced content in social science textbooks by almost 20% and kept cuts to a minimum in mathematics and sciences. This, officials said, was because students had to study much more for a 100-marks social science paper as opposed to history and mathematics.