Karnataka Primary and Secondary Education Minister Madhu Bangarappa on Thursday said revision of school textbooks will be done this year itself in the interest of the students. He said the matter will be soon placed before the Cabinet to seek its consent.
The Congress in its poll manifesto had promised to undo the changes made to school textbooks when the BJP was in power and had also promised to scrap the National Education Policy (NEP).
"The Chief Minister is personally interested in this, it was also clearly mentioned in our manifesto -- of which I was the vice president -- that we will revise the textbook in the interest of the students. Same thing will stand. As we are implementing the guarantees, in the same way in my department we will fulfill what he had said," Bangarappa said.
Speaking to reporters here, he said, "There are reports in the media that we may not revise this year as the textbooks have already reached the students. No, we will do it this year itself by introducing whatever necessary as a supplementary. There is such a system and it has been done several times in the past. We have already begun the work in this regard."
It is also being ensured that there is no burden on the students because of this, he said adding that as "It is still the initial days of the academic year, and as students wouldn't have entered the textbook curriculum yet, this is the time we have to do whatever we have to, of course those chapters (to be omitted) will be there in the textbooks, but teachers will be directed what to teach and what not to."
Noting that based on the experts advice what is necessary for the students will be kept and the unnecessary would be omitted, the Minister without revealing much said, as we are talking, the discussions and meetings are going on in this regard.
"After all these processes are completed, with the guidance of the Chief Minister it will be placed before the Cabinet and once it is passed there, it will be sent to students, keeping their interest in mind," he said. Bangarappa indicated that the proposal on the textbook revision will be placed before the Cabinet probably when it meets next.
He however did not wish to go into details, when asked about reports stating that plans are on to remove some lessons from textbooks introduced by the previous BJP government, including one on RSS founder Keshav Baliram Hedgewar.
Reacting to the government's move to revise textbooks and its plans to remove chapters on Hedgewar, BJP national general secretary C T Ravi, termed it as "intolerance". "They (Congress) had used the word intolerance, this shows that they have intolerance against a patriot. They have the right to oppose ideologically, but they don't have the moral right to question Hedgewar's patriotism. Lessons on Marx and Mao who are not from this country and were against democracy can be there in the textbook, but lessons on patriots like Hedgewar cannot be there. This is intolerance, let's see what they will do and our party will decide what to do," he said.
There was a textbook controversy during the previous BJP regime, with demands by opposition Congress and some writers for sacking the then textbook review committee chief Rohith Chakratirtha for allegedly “saffronising” school textbooks by including the speech of RSS founder Keshav Baliram Hedgewar as a chapter, and omitting chapters on key figures like freedom fighters, social reformers, and the writings of noted literary figures.
There were also allegations of erroneous content on 12th century social reformer Basavanna and certain factual errors in the textbooks, including accusations of disrespecting ‘Raashtra Kavi’ (national poet) Kuvempu and distortion of the state anthem penned by him. Initially the allegations were refuted but subsequently rectifications were made in some cases.