In a recent discussion on the NCERT’s curriculum revisions, noted academics expressed concerns over selective and seemingly politically motivated deletions from the school syllabi.
The academics, including Anita Rampal, Apoorvanand, Neeladri Bhattacharya, and Satish Deshpande, pointed out that the removed content lacked academic merit and could deprive students of important perspectives on various subjects, from marginalized communities to historical figures like the Mughals.
The discussion, organized by the Indian Academic Freedom Network, highlighted a discernible pattern of omissions predominantly relating to caste, diversity, Islam, and the Mughal era.
During the discussion, Neeladri Bhattacharya emphasized that any changes to the curriculum should be driven by a clear vision or new educational principles rather than being influenced by political considerations.
“Any change to the content should be driven by a vision or new principles, (it should not happen) on the basis of political considerations,” Bhattacharya said during the discussion.
The academics raised concerns that the recent modifications disproportionately affected concepts of justice, equality, and diversity that had been integrated into NCERT textbooks between 2005 and 2008.
Among the contentious deletions were the exclusion of evolutionary theory from the Class X science syllabus. The NCERT defended this decision, citing the need to reduce the academic burden on students, especially in light of the pandemic-induced learning gap.
Anita Rampal and Apoorvanand pointed out that the earlier National Curriculum Framework (NCF) and textbooks had been crafted with a focus on pedagogical principles. However, the recent revisions in 2022 and 2023 appeared to selectively drop essential concepts related to justice, equality, and diversity.
Rampal further criticized the draft NCF for presenting a skewed exposure to the world of ideas and raising concerns about the inclusion of unproven assertions in the name of interdisciplinary subjects, particularly the “Indian Knowledge System.”
The NCERT’s recent curriculum revisions have sparked controversy and raised questions about the rationale behind the deletions, with academics calling for a more transparent and academically-driven approach to curriculum development.