NEW DELHI: In a significant move, the Union Human Resources Development Ministry has directed the NCERT to “revise” the curriculum followed in schools in Jammu and Kashmir after its recent re-organisation that saw the conversion of the hilly state into a Union Territory.
The revision will be carried out by the national educational council along with the J&K Board of School Education with focus on social science subjects, which NCERT sources said would mainly be history.
At present, the national curriculum framework is followed in J&K and there is no separate curriculum in the erstwhile state.
“Consequent to creation of the new Union Territories of J&K and Ladakh, the curriculum particularly with reference to social sciences would need to be revised,” said a document, seen by this newspaper, detailing the work being done by the ministry.
NCERT officials confirmed that they have already begun consultations on what changes should be “incorporated” in the textbooks taught in J&K schools and hinted most of them could be in history. “We have begun the process and should be able to mark the areas where the changes are needed in a few months,” an NCERT official said.
J&K’s accession to India has been a subject of controversy ever since Maharaja Hari Singh signed the Instrument of Accession to India on October 26, 1947. Many historians claim the Maharaja had wanted to remain independent of India and Pakistan after independence.
But when raiders from Pakistan invaded J&K and the Maharaja sought India’s military help, the Indian government, according to historians, is said to have coerced the ruler to accede to India.
The document also said that while Ladakh will have a separate education board, the UT will continue to be covered under the J&K school board until a new board is constituted. Vacancies of 26 per cent teachers in schools will be filled and provisions of the RTE will be implemented in the UTs at the earliest.
The revision of J&K’s textbooks comes at a time when the Centre has asked the NCERT to draw up a fresh curriculum for school textbooks for the entire country.
Experts saw the move as possible “saffronisation” of textbooks in J&K, which is directly under the Centre now. “I am not surprised at the development as tampering with the school textbooks has been a pattern whenever BJP has been in power,” said educationist Janaki Rajan, who was previously with Jamia Millia Islamia university.
“The party made large-scale changes in curriculum in Gujarat and Rajasthan and under Vajpayee’s watch as prime minister, NCF 2001 was brought with significant distortion in historical facts, which was later replaced with NCF 2005 under Manmohan Singh government.”