The controversy surrounding changes in NCERT Textbooks: Addressing gaps and ensuring inclusivity

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July 2, 2023

The controversy surrounding changes in NCERT Textbooks: Addressing gaps and ensuring inclusivity


  • The recent circular by the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) in June 2022, which omitted the Periodic Table from 10th class textbooks, has sparked a significant debate within academic circles. The revised textbooks, reflecting these changes, have now been released in the market. This article examines the controversy surrounding these alterations and explores the broader implications for students and the education system.

The Importance of the Periodic Table:

  • The Periodic Table, developed by Dmitri Mendeleev in 1869, serves as a fundamental tool in the field of chemistry. It organizes elements based on their atomic numbers, electron configurations, and properties. The table’s inclusion in textbooks helps students understand essential concepts such as periodic trends, atomic structure, and chemical properties. Its omission from 10th class books raises concerns about students’ foundational knowledge in chemistry.

Implications for Non-Science Stream Students:

  • With a significant number of students opting for Arts and Commerce streams, the removal of the Periodic Table from 10th class textbooks could limit their exposure to crucial basic chemistry concepts. Previously accessible in Class XI, these concepts may now become inaccessible to non-science stream students. This raises concerns about the comprehensiveness and equity of the curriculum.

Controversial Deletions and Omissions by NCERT:

  • The removal of the Periodic Table is not the only controversial change made by the NCERT. Previous instances include dropping Darwin’s theory of evolution and omitting chapters from Political Science textbooks. Additionally, the revised textbooks have excluded mention of Maulana Abul Kalam Azad and omitted historical events such as Jammu and Kashmir’s accession to India. These omissions have sparked further debate and raised questions about the revision process.

Reasons Cited for Curriculum Revamp:

  • The NCERT claims that the reduction in content load, including the omission of the Periodic Table, is part of a broader rationalization effort undertaken in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The aim is to ease the burden on students. Additionally, the revision process seeks to celebrate diversity and assimilation by incorporating multiple perspectives and inclusive representations in textbooks, as advocated by the National Curriculum Framework (NCF).

Allegations of Distortions in History Textbooks:

  • Critics have accused the NCERT of deliberate distortions and rewriting of history in its textbooks. Some argue that these changes reflect a specific ideological bias. However, it is important to consider that revisions in textbooks have been an ongoing process, authored by different sets of historians over the years. Claims of rewriting history overlook the diversity of perspectives and knowledge available.

The Way Forward:

  • To address the concerns raised by the controversial changes in NCERT textbooks, a comprehensive revision of all subjects, including history, is necessary. This revision should incorporate new knowledge and discoveries, present facts lucidly, and avoid politicization. It is crucial to maintain academic integrity, ensure inclusivity, and refrain from erasing significant aspects of history. The NCERT should work towards continuous curriculum revision and consult diverse stakeholders to create well-rounded and relevant textbooks.

The Conclusion:

  • The controversy surrounding the changes made by the NCERT in its textbooks highlights the need for a careful and comprehensive approach to curriculum revision.
  • While it is essential to address gaps, promote inclusivity, and celebrate diversity, it is equally important to maintain the integrity of subjects and ensure students have access to foundational knowledge.
  • Balancing these aspects will contribute to an effective and unbiased education system that empowers students with a holistic understanding of various subjects.

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The controversy surrounding changes in NCERT Textbooks: Addressing gaps and ensuring inclusivity | Vaid ICS Institute