NCERT Fully Justified In Rationalisation Of Textbooks, Hue And Cry Has No Merit: UGC Chief Jagadesh Kumar

Top academics have been criticising the National Council of Educational Research and Training's (NCERT) decision to remove several parts from school textbooks across the subjects and classes.

UGC Chairman M Jagadesh Kumar

The National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) is fully justified in the rationalisation of textbooks and hue and cry over it has no merit, said University Grants Commission (UGC) chief Jagadesh Kumar. 

Kumar's remarks come amid criticism of the NCERT over removing several portions from textbooks across subjects and classes, such as cutting the content on Mughals, Mahatma Gandhi'a assassination, Gujarat Riots, biological evolution, Cold War, and even periodic table. 

In a series of tweets, Kumar slammed the academics objecting to the rationalisation exercise and said that there is no merit in their "hue and cry". 

Recently, a number of academics, who had been part of the textbook-development committees when the original textbooks were produced, have written to the NCERT to have their names removed from the rationalised books.  

Kumar said "In the recent past, the attacks by some 'academicians' on the NCERT for revising the textbooks are unwarranted. There is no merit in the hue and cry of these academicians. The objective behind their grumbling seems to be other than academic reasons."

He said the NCERT is fully justified in carrying out rationalisation of its textbooks' contents.

Kumar said, "The current textbook modifications are not the only ones carried out. The NCERT has been revising textbooks from time to time in the past too. The NCERT has repeatedly stated that the revision of textbooks originates from various stakeholders' feedback and suggestions.

"The NCERT has also confirmed that it is developing a new set of textbooks based on the recently launched National Curriculum Framework for School Education and that current textbooks in which the contents have been rationalised to reduce the academic load are only a temporary phase."

Separately, 73 academicians, including vice chancellors of central universities and directors of National Institutes of Technology (NITs) directors and chairpersons of Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) on Thursday termed the withdrawal of names over the NCERT textbook row a "spectacle" by some "arrogant and self-interested" people, reported PTI.

They also alleged that such efforts were disrupting the much needed curriculum updation process.

The Opposition has blamed the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led Centre of "whitewashing with vengeance" after textbook revisions came to light. At the core of the controversy are removals that were not notified. The NCERT described such removals as "possible oversight" but has refused to undo the removals.

"At the heart of the controversy was while the changes made as part of the rationalisation exercise were notified, some of the controversial deletions were not mentioned. This led to allegations about a bid to delete these portions surreptitiously. The NCERT had described the omissions as a possible oversight but refused to undo the deletions, saying they were based on the recommendations of experts," reported PTI.