CBSE’s Deletion of Subjects Like Secularism, Citizenship From School Syllabus Is To Fulfil Old RSS Agenda of Hindutva: Experts
Syed Ali Ahmed | India Tomorrow
NEW DELHI, JULY 9—The decision of the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) to cut its syllabus for Classes IX to XII for the current academic has come under a strong criticism from various quarters, including educationists, political leaders and student community.
Among the topics that have been dropped are “Democratic Rights” and “Food Security in India” for Class IX, “Democracy and Diversity”, “Gender, Religion and Caste”, “Popular Struggles and Movements” and “Challenges to Democracy” in Social Sciences for Class X , “Federalism”, “Nationalism”, “Citizenship” and “Secularism” for in Political Science in History for Class XI , “Social and New Social Movements in India”, “Regional Aspirations” and “Understanding Partition” for Class XII.
The syllabus has been reduced as students did not time to study due to lockdown owing to Covid-19.
While no one has questioned the reduction of the syllabus per se, what is being questioned is the selection of topics deleted from the syllabus even for the current academic year. They say that CBSE should have selected other topics for reducing the syllabus. Moreover, the CBSE has not given the reasons for choosing these specific subjects for reducing the load of the syllabus.
Reacting to it, Chaman Lal, a retired professor from Jawaharlal Nehru University, said that selective removal of secularism, federalism and democratic rights, social movements and regional aspirations etc seems to have been done to fulfil the RSS agenda of Hindutva.
“The CBSE has selectively deleted these topics on the pretext of reducing the syllabus owing to Covid-19 and lockdown to avoid imparting the knowledge of secularism and federalism etc to school students”, said Prof Lal.
Well-known human rights activist and former professor at MS University of Baroda Juzar S Bandukwala echoed the view of Prof Chaman Lal. “The present ruling dispensation don’t want any form of non-Hindutva subjects to be given any prominence in our textbooks and hence this selective deletion of topics dealing with secularism and federalism etc. This is very negative. They want to isolate Muslims and Dalits from the mainstream. This can have bad repercussions later on”.
Assistant Professor at the Centre for the Study of Law and Governance, JNU, Ghazala Jamil pointed out that chapters regarding Mughal history have been deleted out.
“My reading of these deletions is that this is simply a government expressing its contempt for these aspects of Indian polity and structures of governance through CBSE”, she said.
“A Class XII student, who was appalled about the nature of deletions, told his parents that it seems the government believes that people protest only when they read about social movements, not otherwise. The CBSE official who carried out these deletions probably does not realise that young people are smart and many would read what they are being told not to study”, said Ghazala Jamil.
She said, “Such wholesale deletion of concepts ‘disliked’ by the regime is a hatchet job by the CBSE which shows that the premier educational body has no understanding of pedagogy and instructional design. What is most regrettable is that CBSE has joined the ranks of public institutions in India which have thrown away their autonomy to prostrate themselves so completely in front of a political project”.
Quoting a Hindi proverb, “Yatha Raja, Tatha Praja” (As the King, so are the subjects), national president of All India Ideal Teachers Association) Anwar Khan said, “This was one of the governments priorities. If we go through the past four-five years’ records of government, we will know that this is being done as a policy matter. The government wants to change the students’ mindset through amendment in the education policy. In school age, it is easy to change the mindset. This policy will change the social fabric on every level. This is not good for the country’s future. This is being criticized on different fora in India and in foreign countries. The government should think of withdrawing its decision of deleting these important chapters”.
Jamaat-e-Islami Hind’s (JIH) Education Board chairman Nusrat Ali, commenting on the deletion of topics from school syllabi by CBSE, said. “Reducing syllabus is good decision of the government, but selection of topics is not good. The lessons of Citizenship, Nationalism, Secularism and Federalism are basics of Indian Constitution. The government should not have done this”.
“This mistake should be rectified soon”, he said.
Meanwhile, Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi said that in his personal capacity, he was contemplating to move the Supreme Court to challenge the decision of the CBSE to delete these subjects. against this. “Do you want to tell the students that these subjects do not matter?”, he asked.
Another Congress leader Shashi Tharoor, coming down heavily on the CBSE, questioned the motive behind dropping these topics from the school syllabi. “Does the CBSE believes that tomorrow’s citizens don’t need to study democracy, secularism and federalism?”, he said.
In a tweet, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamta Banerjee also expressed shock over the deletion of important subjects like citizenship, secularism, federation and Partition from school syllabi.
National Students of India (NSUI), in a tweet on the issue, said, “Chapters that deal with the very pillars on which India stands have been removed, hereby destroying India’s foundation. The CBSE wants to alter history based on WhatsApp forwards”.
A Congress leader said, “Are subjects like federalism, nationalism, citizenship, and secularism are no longer relevant that these have been dropped from the syllabus”.