IAS Gyan

Daily News Analysis


13th June, 2023 Social Issues

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  • Key concepts and segments, notably the theory of evolution and the periodic table, have been dropped from science textbooks by the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT).


  • The National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) is a government-established organisation advising central and state governments on school education academic matters.
  • NCERT textbooks have been a source of controversy for allegedly promoting the ruling party's political ideology since its establishment in 1961.
  • NCERT recently carried out a 'syllabus rationalisation' exercise from December 2021 to June 2022 to reduce the burden on students after the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • A 'rationalised' NCERT syllabus was released for 2022-23 where 30% of the syllabus was deleted for Classes 6 to 12. Though most of the changes were announced in April 2022, not all were declared, leading to a fresh row in 2023 over undisclosed deletions related to Mahatma Gandhi and the Gujarat Riots.
  • Since 2014, there have been three NCERT revisions -- in 2017, in 2019, and in 2021.

While NCERT textbooks have been a centre of controversies since 1977, here are a few recent changes in NCERT textbooks that sparked a row:

Deletions in NCERT

  • According to reports NCERT had removed portions of history pertaining to the Mughals, the Delhi Sultanate, Gandhi’s assassination and the Gujarat riots.
  • Among key deletions are ‘Euclid’s division lemma’ and ‘vector algebra’ from mathematics and ‘the reproductive system’ from biology. The changes will take effect in the current academic session.

Concerns raised

  • Academics and educators said they are worried that the less-talked-about deletions in maths and sciences would affect a student’s fundamental understanding of the subjects.
  • Further, they say it could have a significant impact on competitive examinations such as Joint Entrance Examination (JEE), National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET), and National Aptitude Test in Architecture (NATA).
  • The CBSE curriculum is the standard for several entrance exams in the country. While the board has been diluting the syllabus for some time now, the level of difficulty of such exams has not been reduced in parity. The deletion of these concepts will not only impact their knowledge for these exams but the topics removed from Class 10 books will make the students unable to prove the theorems of several Class 11 and 12 concepts.
  • Removing entire periods of history from history textbooks would not only perpetuate misconceptions and misunderstandings, but would serve to further the divisive communal and casteist agenda of the ruling elites.

Government’s stance

  • In its response to opposition, the NCERT, the government body that’s mandated with advising the central and state governments on policies and programmes for school education, said that the deletions were part of its rationalisation exercise undertaken to “unburden” students.

Closing remarks

  • With time, new research may throw up interesting sources or interpretations of periods, institutions, rulers and the common people. But these have to be based on rigorous research.
  • Ideological orientation should not decide what should be taught as history.


Q. The arguments proffered for the deletions of chapters in history textbooks are at best weak, and at worst untenable as they appear to be particularly targeting certain periods of Indian history, and also do not indicate an appreciation of developments in world history. Comment.