NCERT Textbooks: CBSE schools will still teach ‘core concepts’ deleted from books

New NCERT textbooks are bad for learning. Critical concepts, examples crucial for connecting concepts with experience dropped.

Many of the deleted sections in the NCERT textbooks also include important examples that connect concepts to the child’s everyday life. (source: Wikimedia Commons)Many of the deleted sections in the NCERT textbooks also include important examples that connect concepts to the child’s everyday life. (source: Wikimedia Commons)

Atul Krishna | April 20, 2023 | 02:12 PM IST

NEW DELHI: Private schools across India have decided to continue to teach deleted portions of the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) syllabus as they claim the deletions are “not well thought out” and core concepts and evens have been removed.

School authorities said they will be instructing their teachers to teach the deleted portions of the syllabus just as the new NCERT books are hitting the market.

“We will be teaching everything. I’m not interested in talking about the history part. There is a lot of political noise made over it but there are core concepts in chemistry and maths which have been dropped that the people are not talking about. These are concepts and we’ll have to teach them regardless of whether they are in the textbooks or not,” said Sudha Acharya, principal of ITL Public School, Delhi.

Not only do the deletions harm students hoping to write national level entrance tests for professional courses such as engineering and medicine, they harm the process of learning in general. Teachers have pointed out that the “rationalised” textbooks are missing key concepts for junior students which will make it harder for them to grasp concepts at a later stage. Plus, they are also missing examples which will make it harder to connect concepts with everyday life and make them more difficult to understand.

In June 2022, NCERT undertook the process of rationalising textbooks to reduce the content load of students in Classes 6 to 12 The new textbooks are being introduced now.

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NCERT books increase burden on teachers, students

The rationalisation process has deleted many important topics even from the NCERT science books including portions on air, water, soil, cell structures for Classes 6 to 8 to theory of evolution and the periodic classification of elements for Classes 9 to 12. The deletions have been done without much thought and will increase the burden on teachers and students rather than decrease them, said teachers.

“Let’s take Class 8, there is a chapter called ‘Cell’. From the biology point of view, it is the start of biology, it is the most important chapter of biology and that entire chapter has been deleted from Class 8 syllabus. All of a sudden, in Class 9, the same chapter comes but with more complex terms and topics. Now the child is totally clueless. Then who is facing the burden? The child is .Because they don’t know the terminology or the concept,” said Madhu Kaushik, principal of Eureka Public School, Narnaul, Haryana. “It is also a burden on the teachers as they will have to teach the entire concepts of both Class 8 and Class 9.”

Deleted examples that connect concepts with life

Many of the deleted sections also include important examples that connect the concepts taught to the child’s everyday life. For instance, In Class 9, one of the deleted examples is the chemical process behind separating cream and milk.

“This is causing a lot of problems. If you talk about social studies, for instance geography, there is a chapter called natural vegetation and wildlife. In that particular chapter, no concept has been removed, only a small portion including some examples where removed. Why are we taking such rash decisions without thinking it through? The children are still studying the topic. You are just taking away some examples. If you take away such examples then the child will not connect the concept to their own reality,” said Kaushik.

‘Injustice to history’

The most Important and controversial deletions have been from history and political science textbooks including entire chapters on Mughal emperors and key events surrounding them, the varna system, and the practice and abolition of untouchability. Schools said that children cannot afford to go without classes hence teachers will be relying on old NCERT textbooks to teach these topics.

“Important events are deleted and the deletions will amount to an injustice to history. It is the right of every school to decide on teaching the deleted portions. We will have the concerned teachers teach these portions based on the previous textbooks. Earlier, education was under the state government and now it is in the concurrent list.. But the private schools are not slaves to the centre’s policies; we have the liberty to make such decisions,” said Ibrahim Khan, board member of Al – Ameen Public School in Kerala, and president of the Kerala CBSE School Management Association.

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“It’s not that the textbooks were wrong but certain portions were dropped to reduce burden. So even if you omit certain sections of the text the students need that knowledge. Learning something additional is never wrong. So students can always be taught the deleted portions.It will be on the teachers to give the overall knowledge to students,” said Anil Kaushik, president of Haryana Progressive School Association.

Entrance tests

Schools also said that the National Testing Agency (NTA) is yet to clarify whether the syllabus for competitive exams will also exclude these deleted topics.

“If in competitive exams those questions are asked then the children will be at a disadvantage. But that confusion remains. Even if one question comes, and that question is of three marks and the student can’t answer it, then they will fall back among the competition. If the government says that these won’t be asked in UPSC, NEET, JEE Main, then we can act accordingly,” Anil Kaushik. The NEET UG and JEE Main are national-level entrance exams for medicine and engineering. The Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) exam is for the recruitment of bureaucrats and other government officials.

“As of now, NTA has not released any official notification regarding the syllabus of JEE Main and NEET yet. But we cannot rely on rumours. We are teaching the entire syllabus just to make sure that the students are at par with the rest. We will be teaching the books the way they are and if there are some deletions then we will teach whatever has been deleted separately from the older version of the books. Plus. we will give additional notes to students so that they are not totally blank about these topics,” said Madhu Kaushik.

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