[Editorial Analysis] We need to question deletions and exclusions from school textbooks

Mains Paper 2: Governance

Prelims level: Not Much

Mains level: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human resources

Context

• Schools do not merely ‘process’ people; they ‘process’ knowledge as well. They enhance and give legitimacy to particular types of cultural resources which are related to unequal economic forms” Michael Apple, Ideology and Curriculum.

• As the CBSE and the NCERT reportedly decide to delete three substantial chapters pertaining to caste from their Class IX history textbooks.

Objectives

• It aimed at doing good for the children reducing the heavy burden of syllabus that, needless to add, causes severe stress and anxiety.

• The NCERT “project” which follows as an outcome of the 2005 National Curriculum Framework written in a form that seeks to activate the imagination of the young learner.

• The chapters that have been deleted, are beautiful for their ability to blend bundles of information with a conceptual/theoretical perspective.

• They encourage the reader to see history through, say, the eyes of the wheat farmers of the US or the opium farmers of Bengal.

• They also, for instance, help to understand the political history of cricket in the context of colonialism, or, for that matter, probe into the dynamics of caste, class and gender through the history of clothing.

• And it is always a great endeavour that evokes a sense of history among children.

• Unfortunate that we love to equate knowledge with information: We are in a hurry, and, as a result, we burden the child with all sorts of things — mathematics, computer, history (ancient/medieval/modern), geography, physics, moral studies and even yoga.

• We are eager to teach her counting and the alphabet through what the gift industry regards as “play”.

• Let learning be a continual process of exploration and self-discovery.

• Reason and intuition, observation and experience, besides a sense of wonder and the urge to question. Eventually, she would discover Birsa Munda and Savitribai Phule.

Way forward

• There is a need to evolve an instrumental/strategic relationship with the books “hard facts” (or bullet points) from the chapters.

• Neither Gandhi’s pilgrimage to Noakhali nor Pablo Neruda’s poetry, nothing leaves a lasting imprint.

• It is high time we took the debate beyond merely the content of knowledge — Aurangzeb or Shivaji, Savarkar or Ambedkar, Vedic rites or Nizamuddin Auliya’s verses.

• Deconditions the mind, arouses creative imagination and cultivates a rhythmic/relaxed mode of learning.

• Living in terror is not the kind of swaraj anyone of us would want.

• ‘To be able to live fearlessly’ is how Mahatma Gandhi defined swaraj in Hind Swaraj.

• Media needs to find creative ways to restore a sense of safety amongst all.

• To recall Gandhi, “to a certain extent the people’s will has to be expressed; certain sentiments will need to be fostered and defects will have to be brought to light” by the media. Because we are bound to each other and “the world is sustained by the sum of all our correlated actions”.

Prelims Questions:

Q.1) Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty was recently in news because one of the signatory country withdrew from it. Which of the following two countries were party of INF treaty?

A. India and Pakistan

B. Russia and China

C. Russia and NATO

D. USA and Russia

Answer: D

Mains Questions:

Q.1) There is a need to evolve an instrumental/strategic relationship with the books so that we can Deconditions the mind, arouses creative imagination and cultivates a rhythmic/relaxed mode of learning. Justify the statements.

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