In a move which can have far-reaching consequences, and which perhaps is the Modi government’s strongest ever signalling of the planned radical changes in the Indian education system, CBSE has, as of yesterday, deleted some unnecessary portions from its curriculum, in order to rationalise the syllabus for present students between the ninth and twelfth standards. The said concepts have been removed for the present academic year. Interestingly, however, the National Curriculum Framework is expected to come into force next year, and it is keeping that in mind that we at TFI believe that yesterday’s move is an indication of the times to come.
NDTV reported that the chapters “completely deleted” from the Class 11 Political Science syllabus include Federalism, Citizenship, Nationalism, and Secularism. From the Class 12 Political Science syllabus, the board has entirely removed “Security in the Contemporary World”, “Environment and Natural Resources”, “Social and New Social Movements in India”, and “Regional Aspirations”. Also, sections like “Planning Commission and Five-Year Plans” and “India’s Relations with its Neighbours: Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and Myanmar” now stand deleted for the current academic year.
Chapters relating to democratic rights and structure of the Indian Constitution have been clipped off the class 9 curriculum for this year. Additionally, the class 10 curriculum has been lightened by deleting chapters on “Democracy and Diversity”, “Caste, Religion and Gender”, and “Challenges to Democracy”.
On the face of it, this might seem a small and temporary move. Nevertheless, many in India’s liberal circles seem to have foreseen what is headed their way, and are already crying foul over the ‘intentions’ of this government. Sympathisers of the Modi government have time and again criticized it for failing to take concrete steps to rectify the disaster of an education system and curriculum which Indian children and youth are made to go through.
HRD Minister, Dr R.P Nishank, in a series of tweets yesterday, announced the decision of the government to rationalise curriculum for students, and reduce the “course load” for them. What is intriguing, however, is that the Minister went on to say that only the “core concepts” had been retained following the 30 percent rationalisation of syllabus.
📢Considering the importance of learning achievement, it has been decided to rationalize syllabus up to 30% by retaining the core concepts.@PMOIndia @HMOIndia @HRDMinistry @mygovindia @transformIndia @cbseindia29 @mygovindia
— Dr. Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank (@DrRPNishank) July 7, 2020
It is this signalling by the Union Minister which is noteworthy. It is an unapologetic admission of concepts like secularism, nationalism, federalism, among others, being unnecessary, especially since their content is evidently biased against a section of Indians. Further, political science, sociology and history textbooks are among the most corrupted ones in India, and fall short only by a few parameters to bear complete resemblance to the Communist Manifesto.
The words ‘secular’ and ‘socialist’ were added by the Indira Gandhi government in an undemocratic manner back in 1976 through the 42nd Amendment, and were not originally a part of BR Ambedkar’s constitution. The Constituent Assembly led by BR Ambedkar recognised that India was an inherently secular civilisation, and that the superimposition of the word over Indians would be absolutely unnecessary. As a matter of fact, the imported concept of ‘secularism’ has been used as a propaganda tool historically in India, and is given unnecessary importance in the country’s discourse. The word ‘Secularism’ is given undue importance in the education system and is exploited by the country’s left-liberal teachers. This discourse is now all set to be changed.
The interim report on the new National Curriculum Framework (NCF) is expected to be submitted by December. And it is being expected that the new Curriculum Framework will become operative by the next academic year. The Human Resource Development (HRD) Ministry had earlier said, “The new NCF for School Education has been initiated. NCERT will be expected to make changes in the textbooks in accordance with the new NCF. Subject experts will initiate this process for school education, and give an interim report by December 2020. The new NCF is expected to be ready by March 2021.” It added, “Additional areas, such as creative thinking, life skills, Indian ethos, art, and integration, need to be integrated…”
The NCERT has been asked to ensure that while redesigning books it must be ensured that nothing but the core content is placed in them. As such, with the government already booting out unnecessary and non-core topics and portions of curriculum as of yesterday, it is highly unlikely that they would be retained in the National Curriculum Framework (NCF) next year.