Textbooks should not contain narrow ideological propaganda, says Kerala Education Minister

Kerala State General Education Minister V Sivankutty
Kerala State General Education Minister V Sivankutty

Thiruvananthapuram | Kerala General Education Minister V Sivankutty on Tuesday criticised the recent controversial modifications made in school textbooks by the NCERT and said textbooks should not contain narrow ideological positions or propaganda of any movement.

He said the state does not accept the changes made in various portions, including with regard to Babri Masjid demolition and Ayodhya, by the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT).

In a statement, the Minister further said children should be taught real history and science and Kerala has always upheld and implemented this stand.

"Textbooks should not comprise narrow ideological positions or propaganda of any movement," he said.

Sivankutty recalled the earlier controversial changes made by the NCERT in some of its textbooks in the past and how the state government had brought out parallel textbooks incorporating portions omitted by it.

He said the government had prepared parallel textbooks on the basis of the belief that education should be shaped according to Kerala's cultural heritage, secular approach, and progressive mindset.

Those textbooks, brought out by the state, reflected the socio-cultural features of the country and the state and were in adherence with the nation's constitutional values, he said.

The Minister also pointed out that the unique intervention made by Kerala in the education sector was a source of optimism for the secular society in the country.

On Monday, state LSGD Minister M B Rajesh also termed the NCERT's modifications a move to communalise all systems of the government and said there was a need to continue the collective fight against such attempts.

Rejecting accusations of saffronisation of school curriculum, NCERT's director had said that references to Gujarat riots and Babri Masjid demolition were modified in school textbooks because teaching about riots "can create violent and depressed citizens."

National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) director Dinesh Prasad Saklani said the tweaks in textbooks are part of annual revision and should not be a subject of hue and cry.

"Why should we teach about riots in school textbooks? We want to create positive citizens, not violent and depressed individuals," he had said.

The comments by Saklani come at a time when new textbooks have hit the market with several deletions and changes.

The revised class 12 political science textbook does not mention the Babri Masjid but refers to it as a "three-domed structure."

It has pruned the Ayodhya section from four to two pages and deleted details from the earlier version.

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