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When it comes to tinkering with textbooks, LF Govt isn't far behind

When it comes to tinkering with textbooks, LF Govt isn't far behind

Author: HT Correspondent
Publication: The Hindustan Times
Date: November 24, 2001

Despite repeated Opposition charges of tampering with State's school textbooks to incorporate a heavy dose of red ideology, the Left Front Government's education department refuses to take heed.

The West Bengal government's educational policy came under close scrutiny a few month ago when opposition parties pointed out in the Assembly that while the State government is "protesting against the saffronization of the school syllabus" by the Centre, they are doing the same at the State level. Only that here, a heavy dose of communism was being incorporated in the history textbooks and communist leaders were being glorified.

The complaints were raised mainly against the syllabus of modern history. While a brief version of the same is taught in Class V of the State schools, in class VIII again, modern history is taught with more depth. Here, along with the French Revolution, Fall of Bismark, and the first and second world wars, Russian history is also present.

While the Trinamul Chhatra Parishad continues to complain against the "overdose of communism in the syllabus of the school children", Professor Refatullah, the Director of the State Council of Educational Research and Training said, "it is not correct to say that the history of communism has been given extra stress.

In the syllabus of class VIII, while on one hand there is the mention of the comments of Marx in relation to the Industrial revolution, on the other hand the October revolution and the November struggle in Russia and the consequential fall of the Czars have been mentioned in the book. All this constitutes a very little portion of the entire book, so the claim that stress has been laid on the communists in the text books is not true".

So while people have complained that new chapters are being contemplated to be included in the syllabus, the SCERT authorities say it is to maintain parity with other states and a continuity in the syllabus of the primary, secondary and higher secondary levels. "It is baseless to claim that we are trying to redo the syllabus to enhance the virtues of communism" Refatullah said.

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