The rise of India vis-a-vis other countries of strategic importance, diversity of religious teachings, contribution of prominent women personalities and unsung heroes should be highlighted in school textbooks, a parliamentary panel has recommended. The panel has also stressed that the Department of School Education and Literacy, in coordination with the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) should ensure that contributions of unsung freedom fighters get incorporated with equal emphasis in textbooks.
The report of the Reforms in Content and Design of School Text Books Committee on the action taken by the government on its recommendations and observations was tabled in Parliament on Monday. The committee stressed that local heroes, both men and women, who have been ignored over the years, should be highlighted with their contributions to the country's history and unity in the school textbooks.
"For this purpose, groundwork being done for preparing the new NCF (National Curriculum Framework) may include reference not only to printed material but also to local oral traditions through the help of the elderly, and the study of folklore," the report said.
"Prominent women personalities should find a place in regular books of the NCERT rather than supplementary material so that it becomes mandatory reading material," it said. The department can make adequate efforts to highlight and present the diversity of religious teachings as brought out in all ancient scriptures, and educative and religious texts through the school textbooks and incorporate the same in the revised NCF, the report said.
"Rise of India in the world scenario, especially in the light of progress made in the field of economy, defence production and overall development may be suitably highlighted vis-a-vis other countries, especially those countries which are of strategic importance," it said.
"The inter-connect between histories of India and other countries, especially in the context of India's Look East Policy, may be reflected in the school curriculum and find place in school history textbooks," the parliamentary panel's report said.
Noting that the government has accepted that there is a need to have regulatory mechanism for scrutinising the content of textbooks and other material, it recommended that suitable further action in this regard be initiated expeditiously. The panel said also, a database of "private publishers be prepared, and authors and suitable advisory be shared in this regard for them to follow".
The report also noted that concerns about adequate representation of Sikh and Maratha history have not been addressed. "Hence, the committee recommends that true reflection of history of these communities may also be simultaneously ensured as part of the NCF," it said.