In the revised syllabus of classes X, IX and XII released on April 22 by the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), India’s national school board under Ministry of Education with more than 24000 affiliated secondary schools, some chapters and portions that have been dropped has stirred a debate on ‘saffronization’ of education with critics saying the deletion is fuelled by political polarization.
The CBSE has dropped chapters about the Non-Aligned Movement, the Cold War era, the rise of Islamic empires in Afro-Asian territories, the chronicles of Mughal courts and the industrial revolution from the history and political science syllabi of classes 11 and 12.
Similarly, in the class 10 syllabus, the topic ‘impact of globalisation on agriculture” from a chapter on ‘Food Security’ has been dropped. The translated excerpts from two poems in Urdu by Faiz Ahmed Faiz in the ‘Religion, Communalism and Politics — Communalism, Secular State’ section have also been excluded this year.
The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) has also dropped from the course content chapters on ‘democracy and diversity’.
Asked about the rationale behind the choice of topics or chapters being dropped, officials maintained that the changes are part of rationalisation of syllabus and are in alignment with recommendations by the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT).
The dropped chapter ‘Central Islamic Lands’ in the class 11 history syllabus talks about the rise of Islamic empires in the Afro-Asian territories and its implications for economy and society, according to the description in last year’s syllabus.
The chapter focused on arenas of Islam in reference to its emergence, the rise of the caliphate and empire building.
‘CBSE annually provides curriculum for classes 9 to 12 containing academic content, syllabus for examinations with learning outcomes, pedagogical practices and assessment guidelines. Considering the feedback of stakeholders and other prevailing conditions, the board is in favour of conducting the annual scheme of assessment at the end of the academic session 2022-23 and the curriculum has been designed accordingly,’ news agency PTI quoted a senior board official on the charges.
The move is seen by a section as a continuation rightwing politics of hatred and intolerance towards Muslims while the other extreme feels happy that finally the chapters glorifying Invaders will be removed by the CBSE.
Curriculum and pedagogy are two pillars for progressive education and must be left to subject experts and academicians. A best bottom-line has been summed up by educationist Francis Joseph in his tweet
Every state model of education is great, provided the students, parents & teachers claim it to be. Important to keep politics out of education. Till then we are just digging our own future. Let's work together for the India Model.
— Francis Joseph (@Francis_Joseph) April 25, 2022
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