Govt slams 'uninformed commentary' over exclusion of topics from CBSE syllabi, says 'leave politics out of education'

Congress said CBSE's removal of chapters on Federalism, Secularism, Nationalism and citizenship, which are the pillars of Indian democracy, is a crude joke on democracy

FP Staff July 09, 2020 14:58:24 IST
Govt slams 'uninformed commentary' over exclusion of topics from CBSE syllabi, says 'leave politics out of education'

A day after the government was criticised for removing chapters on democracy, diversity, gender and citizenship, Human Resource Development minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank shot back at the detractors and said, "Let us leave politics out of education and make our politics more educated."

The Central Board of Secondary Education released details of a revised syllabus for Classes 9 to 12 -- cut short by 30 percent -- due to the academic days lost to the coronavirus pandemic in the current year. Among other things, chapters on democracy and diversity, gender, religion and caste, citizenship and federalism were deleted from the curriculum.

This was noted in the media, and was picked up by the Opposition parties as well, which alleging that chapters on India's democracy and plurality are being "dropped" to propagate a particular ideology.

Clarifying on the decision, Pokhriyal in a series of tweets said, "There has been a lot of uninformed commentary on the exclusion of some topics from #CBSESyllabus. The problem with these comments is that they resort to sensationalism by connecting topics selectively to portray a false narrative."

Pokhriyal also said that these were "merely a 1-time measure for exams, due to the #COVID19 pandemic."

The Congress said removal of chapters on Federalism, Secularism, Nationalism and citizenship, which are the pillars of Indian democracy, is a crude joke on democracy and is highly condemnable. Party spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi said it is unconstitutional and wondered if it is part of a "bigger conspiracy". Singhvi also said that he would challenge the action in court in his individual capacity and not on behalf of the Congress.

CPM leader Sitaram Yechury termed the CBSE move as "atrocious" and "unacceptable".

West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee also objected to the CBSE's decision to drop topics such as "citizenship", "federalism" and "partition". She appealed to the Human Resource Development (HRD) Ministry not to curtail important lessons at any cost.

Delhi deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia, however, took a balanced approach as he challanged CBSE to explain the rationale behind several topics in favour of others, as he acknowledged that social science was indeed a subject where there is "maximum scope of controversy and agree that no matter which topics are chosen or left out, the questions are bound to be raised.

Amid the row on the issue, the CBSE said the reduction of syllabus from classes 9 to 12 has been interpreted differently.

"Contrary to some of the impressions being created, it is clarified that the rationalization of syllabus up to 30 per cent has been undertaken for nearly 190 subjects for the academic session 2020-21 as a one-time measure only," CBSE Secretary Anurag Tripathi said.

The Board claimed the objective of rationalisation is to reduce the exam stress of students due to the prevailing health emergency and prevent learning gaps. It asserted that no question shall be asked from the reduced syllabus in the board exams 2020-21 only.

"The schools have also been directed to follow the alternative academic calendar prepared by NCERT for transacting the curriculum.

Therefore, each of the topics that have been wrongly portrayed as deleted have been covered under alternative academic calender which is already in force for all the affiliated schools of the board," Tripathi said.

With inputs from PTI

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