NEW DELHI: Former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s life, achievements and poems are set to be introduced in NCERT textbooks from the next academic session. The Union Human Resources Development Ministry has asked the Council, which advises the Centre and the state governments on school curriculum, to identify and source information, milestones and achievements of Vajpayee’s long political life, particularly his tenure as the Prime Minister during 1998-2004, for inclusion in textbooks.
NCERT textbooks are used in schools affiliated to the Central Board of Secondary Education across the country, “There was a meeting held recently on this where it was decided that the NCERT will explore ways to include more on Vajpayee in school textbooks and that the new books be adopted from 2019,” said a senior official in the Department of School Education and Literacy in the Ministry. “It was also decided that not only Vajpayee’s political achievements but also some of poems be included in literature textbooks in various classes,” the official said. Vajpayee passed away on August 16 following a prolonged illness that had kept him away from public life since 2009. He was given a state funeral by the Narendra Modi government.
The decision to include Vajpayee’s achievements follows the Bharatiya Janata Party to build up the late PM as a national icon in the same league as Jawaharlal Nehru and Indira Gandhi of the Congress. BJP governments in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan, where assembly elections are due later this year, have already announced that details of Vajpayee’s accomplishments, particularly his contribution to Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana and Golden Quadrangle will be included in state level school textbooks. Sources in the NCERT said that the textbook revising committee had already started work on the proposed inclusions. “We have started deliberating how more can be included in Vajpayee in political science textbooks for classes XI and XII and chapters on politics in classes IX and X, and a team is already at work,” a senior NCERT official confirmed to this newspaper.
“Also right poems will be identified for Hindi textbooks.” At present, the class XII political science textbook mentions Vajpayee but does not have much detail about his years as PM or his political journey as a Jan Sangh and BJP leader. The development comes as the educational council is revising its school textbooks following HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar’s directions to the NCERT to rationalise curriculum by cutting syllabi by almost half to reduce the academic burden on students. “The portions on Vajpayee will be drafted and included in the textbooks during the ongoing revision process,” another NCERT official said.