NEW DELHI: Amidst the furore over tinkering with school textbooks, the government told the parliament that it was a rationalisation exercise to compensate for the academic loss during Covid-19 and remove overlapping of similar content.
In a written reply, Minister of State of Education Annpurna Devi said the rationalisation exercises were also taken due to overlapping of similar content, making the content easily accessible to children, without much intervention from the teachers, can be learned through self-learning or peer learning.
There has been much controversy over the past two years about changes and reduction of a course syllabus, which included critical issues such as federalism, secularism, Gujarat riots, Cold War, Mughal court, industrial revolution and climate change from textbooks of classes 6-12.
The ministry said that during the Covid-19 pandemic situation, students across the stages of school education had struggled a lot to continue their learning through online and other modes.
Also, concerns about curriculum load, including the content load spread over syllabi and textbooks, have been raised from different corners.
Further, National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 states that ‘the reduction in content and increased flexibility of school curriculum and the renewed emphasis on constructive rather than rote learning must be accompanied by parallel changes in school textbooks.’
“To facilitate speedy recovery in students' learning continuum and compensate for time loss, NCERT took a step towards the rationalisation of textbooks across the stages and subject areas,” the minister said.
She said the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) followed specific criteria for rationalising content load.
These are - overlapping with similar content included in another subject area in the same class; similar content contained in the lower or higher course in the same subject; difficulty level; and content that is easily accessible to children and does not require much intervention from the teachers and can be learned through self-learning or peer learning.
In this process, they also rationalised content as irrelevant in the present context or outdated and took care of the learning outcomes already developed across the classes.
NCERT also met with the teachers nominated by the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) to discuss the rationalisation exercise across the subject areas.
The minister said various subject departments of the NCERT engaged external experts as part of the rationalisation exercises and the number of consultations.
Aside from NCERT in-house experts, NCERT sought the expertise of subject experts from universities, organisations and practising teachers in all its activities related to research, development, training and extension for broader consultation.