24 January, 2021

Beyond Margins Of Error

NCERT's new books are an education in bungling

Beyond Margins Of Error
Not getting school textbooks was bad enough. But what teachers in the 6,593 cbse schools across the country are now facing is even more traumatic—glaring errors in the new textbooks.

The large number of factual, grammatical and chronological errors in the new textbooks has got teachers panicking. "It is a very serious problem," says Annie Koshy, principal of the St Mary's School in south Delhi. "We have to correct the mistakes before we start teaching. And you can never be sure! What if they prepare question papers on the basis of what's been written in the books?"

While the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT), responsible for publishing the books, has rectified major errors like the controversial deletion of Mahatma Gandhi's assassination from the history textbook Contemporary India (published in 2002), even the revised versions need serious changes (see box). "Every sentence is wrong," says eminent historian Irfan Habib who has reviewed the social sciences textbook for Class 6. "There are mistakes on every page."

The authors of the...


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