New Delhi: Jawaharlal Nehru is all set to make a comeback in a big way in the curricula of government-run schools in the Congress-ruled states of Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh. The Congress outperformed the Bharatiya Janata Party in these three states in the recently held Assembly elections. While accusing the erstwhile BJP governments of promoting “saffronisation of school syllabus”, the Congress governments in these three states have ordered the formation of curricula review committees to ensure the redesigning and rewriting of the new syllabi for government-run schools.
According to sources, while teachers and students are in a fix over the imminent changes in the textbooks, the work of rewriting the syllabi is progressing at full speed and will be implemented from the next academic session. Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel has made it clear to his Education Minister, Premsain Singh Tikam that the process of redesigning and rewriting of textbooks will have to be completed as soon as possible. Baghel has ordered the cutting down of Vedic inspired teachings from school textbooks and increase so called “modern reasoning and rational-based scientific content” in the school syllabus, a source close to the education ministry of Chhattisgarh told The Sunday Guardian.
“After getting directions from the Chief Minister, the education ministry has already initiated the process of formation of a team which can help in the redesigning and rewriting of textbooks,” the same source cited earlier said.
Vidya Bharati—a chain of schools being run by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS)—is on the hit-list of the Congress government, the source said. Vidya Bharati has its own curriculum which gives more importance to Vedic teachings, but the Congress government wants to meddle in their curriculum too to reduce “traditional studies” in these schools, according to the source.
When the BJP ruled Chhattisgarh for 15 years, the Congress kept accusing it of distorting school textbooks, mainly the History syllabus.
In Rajasthan, Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot has directed his Education Minister to form a committee and come up with a new syllabus for text-books. Following Gehlot’s direction, Rajasthan’s Education Minister, Govind Singh Dotasara, has given the green light for the formation of a committee to look into the redesigning and rewriting of the textbooks for state-run schools.
The Education Minister is under instruction to highlight the roles played by Mahatma Gandhi and the Nehru family in the freedom movement in textbooks.
“The Educational Research and Training Council (ERTC) of Rajasthan has initiated the re-structuring process of the curriculum and according to instructions, prominence will be given to the role of national figures like Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru in the new textbooks,” a source close to the ERTC told The Sunday Guardian.
Similarly, in Madhya Pradesh, Chief Minister Kamal Nath has asked officials to prepare the “foundation” for the rewriting of textbooks for the new session.
Though the governments in the aforementioned states are rewriting textbooks, Dr Pravesh Kumar, Assistant Professor at Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, said: “Frequent changes in textbooks without holding a proper expert consultation might distort the education system. Nowadays, it has become a fashion to brandish an ideology, but in the course of promotion of an agenda, political parties forget that they are playing with the future of crores of students.”
Experts say that the rewriting of syllabus might prove hard for the Congress governments in the Hindi heartland states and can damage their prospects in the general elections to be held this year.