February 17, 2016

India - Rajasthan: Foreign authors were dropped as part of the education department's directive to the textbook rewriting committee

The Times of India

New Rajasthan textbooks drop western writers

TNN | Feb 17, 2016, 01.17 AM IST


• The Class VIII Hindi textbook has also undergone a complete overhaul
• Hindi chapters loaded with Urdu words were dropped as these were difficult for the students, said a member of the textbook committee
• Teachers feel this promotion of local writers will affect the students in national-level competitions  
JAIPUR: The BJP government in Rajasthan has omitted poems by the likes of John Keats, Thomas Hardy, William Blake, T S Eliot and Edward Lear from the revised Class VIII English textbooks. They have been replaced by mostly lesser-known authors whose works have a regional flavour.

So while Hardy's 'When I Set Out For Lyonnesse', Eliot's 'Macavity: The Mystery Cat' and Blake's 'The School Boy' have been dropped, works such as 'My first visit to the bank', 'The Brave Lady of Rajasthan', 'Chittor', 'Sangita the brave girl' have been included in the first lot of revised textbooks that have arrived at state textbook depots in Ajmer, Udaipur, Dausa, Bharatpur and Jaipur.

Last year, Rajasthan had rewritten textbooks from Class I to XII in a period of less than three months. The books that have arrived include those for Class VIII (Hindi, English, Sanskrit, maths) and Class VI (English, Hindi, maths). They have been confined in the godowns of state textbooks depots. Foreign authors were dropped as part of the education department's directive to the textbook rewriting committee to include content that evokes a sense of pride in the state and the country.

Swami Vivekananda's 'The song of the free' and Rabindranath Tagore's 'Where the mind is without fear' are among the additions.

The Class VIII Hindi textbook has also undergone a complete overhaul. Urdu author Ismat Chugtai's short story 'Kamchor' and Hari Shankar Parsai's 'Bus Ki Yatra' have been omitted.

Veteran journalist P Sainath's 'Jaha Pahiya hai'(Where there is a wheel), which talks about bicycles becoming a symbol of women emancipation, was also dropped by the textbook rewriting committee.
"Most of the Hindi chapters that were dropped were loaded with Urdu words, which were difficult for the students to understand," said a member of the textbook committee on condition of anonymity. "We were also directed to strike out those chapters whose theme revolves around a particular faith."

Satyavrat Samvedi, president of Swayamsevi Shikshan Sanstha, a body of private schools affiliated to the Rajasthan Board of Secondary Board, said: "If all new books are based on the same premise of promoting local region, then we are on a different path from other states. This will result in poor performance of our students in national-level competitions."

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[See also a report from January 2016]

Hindustan Times

Saffronisation? Raje scraps Cong textbooks, spends Rs 37 cr on new ones

Rakesh Goswami, Hindustan Times, New Delhi | Updated: Jan 20, 2016 07:45 IST

The RSTB floated online tenders for auction of old books – including the ones which were printed only 3 years back in 2012-13 – in November. The MRP of these books, as per the tender notice, is Rs 2.05 crore but the bid price is Rs 30 lakh.

The Rajasthan government is spending around Rs 37 crore on printing new textbooks for classes 1 to 8 as part of its larger plan to include historical figures such as Maharaja Surajmal, Hemu Kalani and Govind Guru, glorify warrior-kings such as Maharana Pratap, and question the greatness of “invaders” such as Mughal emperor Akbar in its social sciences content.

From academic session 201617, all 36 books being taught in the primary and upper-primary classes will be based on a new agenda that critics have described as saffronisation.

Rajasthan’s school syllabus was changed only two years ago, during the Congress government’s regime. In 2012-13, new textbooks were introduced for all subjects pertaining to classes 1, 3 and 5, and modified social sciences textbooks were prescribed for students of classes 6 and 7. Later, in 2013-14, new textbooks were introduced for all subjects in classes 2 and 4, and a new social sciences textbook was brought in for class 8. All that has now been scrapped, with the Rajasthan State Textbook Board (RSTB) auctioning off the books.

“Textbooks up to 2012-13, which are now obsolete, have been auctioned to clear our warehouses. We are printing 5.66 crore new textbooks for classes 1 to 8, and need space to store them,” said RSTB secretary Deepti Kachhawaha. The board will also print 1.23 crore textbooks for classes 9 and 11 in accordance with the new syllabus.

Rajasthan (primary and secondary) education minister Vasudev Devnani had courted controversy earlier over his plans to introduce Surya Namaskar and Saraswati Vandana in government schools.

Unfazed by the criticism over the new textbooks, Devnani had told HT in an earlier interview that he was merely correcting distorted history and promoting Indian culture and values among students.

“There is no saffronisation. Education should be above politics or religion. Some people with vested interests are politicising the issue,” he had said.

However, educationists have termed the decision as the “Hinduisation of education”.

“It is in the nature of right-wing forces to attack the education system when they come to power. This time, the nature of change is different because they are in power at the Centre too. They have come out openly against the idea of composite culture and secularity,” said Dr Rajiv Gupta, former head of Sociology, University of Rajasthan.