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Report of Committee to Review NCERT Textbooks and Note of Dissent by MSS Pandian

July 3, 2012

Clarification: These documents did not reach us through any member of the Committee.

We have re-ordered the first document to place the Executive Summary at the beginning. Otherwise, no changes have been made. We have also linked to the sites from which you can download the actual text-books so that you can see what has been recommended for deletion/change.

MSS Pandian’s Note of Dissent follows the report of the Committee.

A Report of the Committee constituted for Reviewing the Textbooks of Social Sciences / Political sciences, for Classes IX-XII constituted by NCERT

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY     

 a)       The Committee’s terms of reference were to identify the educationally     inappropriate materials and provide alternative suggestions for the six        textbooks in Political Science.

b)       Since six textbooks covered different themes such as Political Theory,     Indian Constitutions, Indian Politics and World Politics, the    Committee requested the subject experts from Political Science, to      give their opinion using the NCERT guidelines for the textbooks    preparation.  The opinion expressed by the experts was used as   resource material to arrive at the final view by the Committee .The      Committee also made use of some literature, particularly on the use   of cartoons in teaching.

c)      The Committee used the guidelines developed by the NCERT to prepare the textbooks for the review of educational material        including the cartoons. Since the NCERT did not provide specific guidelines for the inclusion of cartoons (and used the general NCF           guidelines for selection and use of cartoon), the Committee made use of general guidelines and also suggestions of some eminent researchers who have worked on the use of cartoons in teaching, to review the inclusion of cartoons in six textbooks on Political Science.

d)       The Committee has made recommendations for each of the six textbooks          for changes in the current year. The Committee recommended (a)       removal of    some cartoons, (b) change in the “Note “below the        cartoons Unni and Munni to bring  clarity and improvement in the message and (c) removal        of       some cartoons on Unni and Munni.

e)      The Committee has also made suggestions for modification in material    which can be considered at the time of the general review of the       textbooks in future.

CONTENTS

Acknowledgement                                                                                      5

Executive Summary                                                                          6

Section 1 - Terms of References                                                       7

Section 2 - Procedure followed by the Committee                           8-10

Section 3 – National Curriculum Framework, 2005                         11-13

Section 4 – Guidelines developed by NCERT for

preparation of the textbooks                                                             14-20

Section 5 – Guidelines used by the Committee for review

of the textbook                                                                                  21-23

Section 6 – Recommendations – Immediate for the selective

modification in the current year                                                       24-28

                                                                  

Appendix 1- General Recommendations to be                                 29-32

considered for a future review.

Appendix 2 – Suggestions made by various Experts,                        33-34

to be considered for a future review. 

 

Appendix 3 – Letters received by the Committee                                       35-37

Appendix 4 – References                                                                  38

 ACKNOWLEDGMENT

The Committee would like to thank the following persons who have helped the Committee by sharing their views.

We thank all the thirteen subject experts who took out time from their busy schedule, went through the relevant textbooks and shared their views.

We also thank Prof. Hari Vasudevan, Chairperson, and Prof. Yogendra Yadav, and Prof. Suhas Palashikar Chief Advisors for the textbooks of Political Science for sharing their views with the members of the Committee.

We also thank Prof. Krishna Kumar former Director, NCERT, Prof. Parvin Sinclair, the present Director of NCERT and Prof. Savita Sinha former Head DESS for sharing their views.  The discussion with them has brought considerable clarity on the procedure used by NCERT in preparation of the textbooks.

Finally we thank Prof. Saroj Yadav for the excellent support she provided to facilitate the work of the Committee. We also thank Smt. Geeta Dwivedi, PA for her hard work in typing the entire report.

SECTION 1 : Terms of References of the Committee

1.1 The NCERT had constituted a Committee “for reviewing the    textbooks of Social Sciences/Political Science for Classes IX-XII      with specific terms of reference on May 14, 2012. The terms of       reference of the Committee are as follows:

  • To Review the Classes IX-XII Social Science/ Political Science textbooks of NCERT from the point of view of identifying educationally inappropriate materials in them.
  • Providing suggestions for alternatives to be placed in the textbooks so that the material can be immediately made available to the learners concerned.

The Committee, therefore, first undertook the review of the textbooks in Political Science.  The Committee was given a limited time of one month only.

Given the time constraints, the Committee followed a particular procedure to review the textbooks and to make suitable recommendations for modification in the current year.  The procedure followed by the Committee is given in Section 3 and 5.

1.2 The Report is presented in six sections. Section 1 is introductory.    Section 2 outlines the procedure used by the Committee to review the    textbooks. Section 3 discusses the National Curriculum     Framework, 2005.  Section 4 gives the Guidelines laid down by the         NCERT for preparation of the textbooks in Social Sciences and       Political Science.  Section 5 discusses the “Guidelines” used by     the    Committee to review six textbooks in Political Science.  Section 6   contains the “Recommendations made by the Committee for suitable     modifications in the textbooks for the current year.

1.3 The Report also includes a list of “General Suggestions “for the        consideration of the NCERT and Textbook Development Team for     improvement in the content of six textbooks.  These suggestions are given at Appendix I. The Report also includes the suggestions made by     various “subject experts”, who were invited to give their views and           suggestions for improvement in the contents of six textbooks. These   suggestions are given at Appendix 2.  The list of Memorandum /

Letters received sent to the Committee are given in Appendix 3 and        references

 SECTION 2

2.1 Procedure followed by the Committee for review of textbooks

The Committee used a specific procedure to review the “material” in the six textbooks .The Committee was required to review the textbooks firstly  “from the point of view of identifying educationally inappropriate “materials” in them and secondly to provide  alternative suggestions to be placed in the textbooks so that the material could be immediately made available to the learners.” The Committee was given only one month’s time.  Given the time limit, the Committee decided to follow a procedure that would enable the completion within the one month time frame.  Both tasks, namely reviewing the books to identify educationally inappropriate material and to make alternative suggestions, made it necessary for the Committee to go through the material carefully in a short time.  It was made clear to           the Committee that the” material” includes both written text and cartoons and other visuals used in the textbooks.

The Committee was required to review six textbooks in Political Science for IX-XII. These six textbooks include

Class IX – Democratic Politics I

Class X – Democratic Politics II

Class XI- (1) Indian Constitution at Work and (2) Political Theory

Class XII – (1) Politics inIndiaSinceIndependenceand

(2)Contemporary World Politics

These books run into several pages packed with written text, and visuals of various types, including cartoons and photographs. The Committee was particularly required take a careful look at the cartoons. The Committee discovered that in all, the six textbooks included 173 cartoons, and a number of photographs.  The written text of six books runs into about 967 pages.

Another feature of these six textbooks is that they cover different themes.  The text books include the themes such as Political Theory, Indian Constitution, Democratic Politics, Politics inIndiasince independence and Contemporary World Politics.

The review of the six textbooks required careful study of the text and the visuals particularly the cartoons.  Given different themes, which vary from theory, and more specialized subjects like Indian Constitution to contemporary Indian and World Politics, it was imperative for the Committee to seek the opinion of the subject/theme experts.  Equally important was to seek the help of experts in   use of cartoons as pedagogy.

2.1.1 Experts’ Views -The Committee in its first meeting held on May 22, decided to seek the opinion of subject experts in Political Science.  The Committee Members suggested the names of experts which were approved by consensus. Altogether 13 experts were invited to give suggestions on the text and cartoons. The Committee particularly requested two experts who had some experience about the use of cartoons in teaching at the school level.

Experts were contacted over phone and on agreement, a set of textbooks (IX-XII) were sent to them.  Since the time was very short the Committee decided to invite experts for two days for a review of the concerned texts.  The experts worked on their own for two days, that is May 29 and 30, 2012 NCERT, New Delhi. At the end of the second day, an informal meeting was held with the experts in which the time to submit the comments was extended by three days.  Each expert was expected to review the book in the area of his/her expertise.  However some of them also reviewed more than two books.  The experts reviewed the books as per the guidelines of NCERT and sent their comments.  Some of the experts agreed to send their comments separately.  Experts were required to review the textbooks using   NCERT guidelines. However they were encouraged to share their views in general also.

2.1.2 Meeting with Chief Advisors- As desired by the Chairperson and Chief Advisors of Political Science Textbooks (Classes IX-XII), a meeting was held with Prof. Hari Vasudevan, Chairperson, and Prof. Yogendra Yadav, and Prof. Suhas Palashikar Chief Advisors for the textbooks of Political Science. The Advisors submitted a written statement to the Committee. The Advisors urged the Committee members to consider their views expressed in the letter.

2.1.3 Meeting with present and former NCERT officials – Beside the subject experts and Chief Advisors, the Committee members also held discussion with the former and present Directors and former Head of the Department of Education in Social Sciences.  These include Prof. Krishna Kumar former Director, NCERT, Prof. Parvin Sinclair, the present Director of NCERT and Prof. Savita Sinha former Head DESSH (at present DESS). It is necessary to mention that the views given by 13 Experts were used by the Committee as resource material after due considerations.

2.1.4 Decision making process- The Committee also agreed on the procedure to arrive at a common view.  Given the time constraint the committee decided to hold the meeting continuously for five days.  The first two meetings held on May 22 and June 5, decided the working procedure, the Committee held separate meetings from 11 to 15 June 2012.  All members, except Prof. Pandian participated in the proceedings of the meetings held during June11 to 15 June 2012.  Prof. Pandian attended only two meetings of the Committee held on May 22 and June 5, in which  the working procedure for the Committee was discussed.  Prof. Pandian did not participate in the meeting held from June 11 to 15, 2012 which deliberated on the material in detail including the views of the 13 experts and also the memorandum submitted by the officials / organisations and Members of Parliament, which were forwarded to the Committee by the NCERT.  It was only after a detailed face to face discussion between the members on all points that the Committee Members crystallized the suggestions and arrived at the common views on a number of issues and recommendations.

The Committee also decided the procedure to arrive at the decision on the recommendations and other suggestions.  The members agreed to take decisions based on “consensus”.  In the event of differences, it was decided that the majority view would prevail. However, ultimately all the decisions were taken unanimously by five members present in the meetings. Thus recommendations and other suggestions were unanimously decided by all the five members.  Since Prof. Pandian was absent on all the days of the meetings held from 11 to 15 June, 2012, in which substantive discussions were held and decisions arrived at, he was thus was not a party to the final decision.  Since the Committee decided to submit the report as unanimous   view of the members, no “Separate Note or Annexure” with differing viewpoint involving any individual member is appended to the report.  The report is a unanimous view of five members present in the meetings held from 11 to 15 June 2012.

 SECTION 3: National Curriculum Frameworks

3.1 NCERT has a mandate for developing the National Curriculum Framework (NCF) for school education and reviewing it periodically. The frameworks are evolved and reviewed through intensive consultation and deliberations by eminent scholars from different disciplines, policy makers, teachers, parents and other stakeholders.  Until now the NCERT has developed the frameworks which have been revised at regular intervals. The framework was first put together in 1975. It was revised in 1988 and 2000. The latest revision was done in 2005. Based on the NCF’s recommendations and/guidelines model syllabi and textbook for various subject are developed.

Since six textbooks in Political Science under review are based on the Framework developed in 2005 NCF, it is necessary to understand the main features of the 2005 Framework as a back ground to the review of the six text books in Political Science.

3.2 National Curriculum Framework 2005 – Some features

NCERT undertook the review of the NCFSE in 2000.  21 Focus Groups were set up to lay down the basics for the NCF 2005. The present National Curriculum Framework 2005 primarily focuses on five guiding principles.  As a follow up of National Curriculum Framework 2005, the textbooks of various subjects including Social Sciences were developed by NCERT in phases.

The National Curriculum Framework 2005 in its epilogue highlighted the following:

The real challenge is to plan the curriculum so that it has the main elements that work to keep the broad objectives of education.

The structure of curriculum should not be built to promote success for a selected few rather it should adopt a structure that engages participation in learning by all.  New pillars like personality, character, physical fitness; creative and critical thinking should be focussed along with academic pillars of maths, science, social science etc.

Content must be linked to the challenges to life at different stages

The education provided should humanize and be relevant for the pursuit of wide variety of human aptitudes.

 

The former Director of NCERT in the foreword to the textbooks spell out the features of 2005 NCF. The former Director observed:  ‘The National Curriculum Framework ( NCF),2005 recommends that children’s life at school must be linked to their life outside the school .The principle mark of departure  from the legacy of bookish learning which continue to shape our system  and causes a gap   between school, home and community. The syllabi and textbooks developed on the basis of NCF signify an attempt to implement this basic idea. They also attempt to discourage rote learning and the maintenance of sharp boundaries between different subject areas. We hope these measures will take us significantly further in the direction of a child-centric system of education outlined in the National Policy on Education (1986)” (Indian   Constitution at Work, foreword, page iv, 2006).

The Chief Advisors, Prof. Suhas Palshikar and Prof. Yogendra Yadav in their forward (A LETTER TO YOU) also spell out the special feature of NCF 2005.  They observed “We were inspired to write this different kind of a textbook by the National Curriculum Framework 2005.  It says that instead of just memorisation and repetition, emphasised should be laid on “developing concepts and the ability to analyse socio-political realities”.—– The new syllabi for Political Science recognise the need to deepen the students’ understanding of the provisions and the working of the Constitution making. That is why you would find more focus on the rationale and the real life consequences of the constitution.” (Indian Constitution at Work, A LETTER TO YOU, page vi 2006).

Thus one of the distinguishing features of the NCF 2005 is that it attempts to link children’s life at school with their life outside the school and tries to reduce the gap between school, home and community and develop their ability to analyse socio-political realities.

The Chief Advisors in their letter to the Committee also referred to two more features of NCF 2005.  First is that, it introduces a number of aids to get the students more interested in the subjects.  It interacts with the students with the help of stories, illustrations, puzzles and cartoons. Thus it has increased the visual elements and introduced a new feature called ‘Plus Box”.  The second feature the Chief Advisors emphasized in their letter given to the Committee relates to the preparation of textbooks as a collective exercise and not the work of single individual scholars.  In their letter to The Review Committee, the Chief Advisors observed :, “This responsibility included recommending names for Textbooks  Development Team (TDT) for each of the textbook and then working with these teams of teachers and scholars to conceptualise the books, write drafts of the chapters and finalize the contents for submission  to the NCERT.  It was through this unprecedented exercise in collective deliberation that these textbooks were developed in the years 2006 and 2007.  You would (address to the NCERT review Committee) appreciate  that the final outcome of a collective exercise for this kind does not have an “author”, however as Chief Advisors we were responsible for the final version that was submitted to the National Monitoring Committee and then accepted by the NCERT.” (Letter submitted by Prof Subhas Palshikar and Prof Yogendra Yadav dated May 28, 2012).

Thus the NCF 2005 differs from the NCFSE 2000 in three respects, namely that children’s life at school is to be linked realities to their life outside the school, use of visual aids such as stories, illustrations, puzzles and cartoons was to be increased to get students more interested in subjects and thirdly the preparation of textbooks was made a collective exercise.  The Chief Advisors expected the NCERT Review Committee to take these features into consideration, while making recommendations for modification of the texts.

 

 SECTION 4 :       Guidelines developed by NCERT for preparation of        textbooks

 We now discuss the NCERT guidelines used by the Textbook Development Team and the Chief Advisors and finally by the National Monitoring Committee to finalized the textbooks.  It is these guidelines which are used by the Review Committee also for the review of the textbooks.

The NCERT guidelines are of three types.  There are guiding principles of NCF 2005 which apply to all subjects.  There are objectives which are used only for subjects in Social Sciences.  Then there are objectives which are laid down for each of the text books in Social Science subjects.  In this case it is Political Science.  It is these guiding principles and objectives which are utilized by the Review Committee for the review.   

 

4.1     Guiding Principles of NCF 2005 

The following guiding principles were kept in view while preparing the textbooks for all subjects.

1) Connecting knowledge to life outside the school,

2) Ensuring that learning is shifted away from rote methods,

3) Enriching the curriculum to provide for overall development of

children rather than remain textbook centric,

4) Making examinations more flexible and integrated into classroom life

and,

5) Nurturing an over-riding identity informed by caring concerns within the

democratic polity of the country.

4.2 Other guidelines for the syllabus and textbooks 

  • Resonance of the values enshrined in the constitution of India
  • Sensitivity to gender, caste, and class parity, peace, health and the         needs of children with disabilities,
  • Infusion of environment related knowledge and work related attitude      in all subjects and at all levels
  • Linkages between school knowledge in different subjects and        children’s every day experience,
  • Appropriateness of topics and themes for relevant stages of children’s      development and continuity  from one level to the next,
  • Inter-disciplinary and thematic linkages between topics listed for   different school subjects, which fall under discrete disciplinary areas,
  • Nurturing aesthetic sensibility and values by integrating the arts and      India’s heritage of craft in all aspects of the curriculum.

 

4.3     Objectives for the preparation of textbook in Social Sciences

  • To understand the society in which they live – to learn how society is structured, managed, and governed, and also about the forces seeking to transform and redirect society in various ways.
  • To appreciate the values enshrined in the Indian Constitution such as justice, liberty, equality and fraternity and the unity and integrity of the nation and the building of a socialist, secular and democratic society.
  •  To grow up as active, responsible, and reflective members of society.
  • To learn to respect differences of opinion, lifestyle, and cultural practices.
  • To question and examine received ideas, institutions, and practices.
  • To acquire pleasure in reading, by providing them with enjoyable reading material.
  • To undertake activities that will help them develop social and life skills and make them understand that these skills are important for social interaction.
  • In textbooks and in the classroom, the content language, and images should be comprehensible, gender-sensitive, and critical of social hierarchies and inequalities of all kinds.

 

4.4     Objective for preparation of each textbook in Political Science

4.4.1 Class IX: Democratic Politics I- Objective

 

Themes Learning Objective
1. Democracy in contemporary world

How has democracy expanded in the world in recent times?  In which ways has this expansion changed the world?  Is this expansion changing democracy itself?  Are we moving towards global democracy?

  • Develop a comparative

historical sense of the spread of democracy

  • Analyse the functioning of global institutions such as UN
  • Skills of comparison and evaluation.

2. What is democracy? Why democracy?

What are the different ways of defining democracy?  Why has democracy become the most prevalent form of government in our times?  What are the alternatives to democracy?  Is democracy superior to its available alternatives?  Must every democracy have the same institutions and values?

  • Develop conceptual skills of defining democracy
  • Understand how different historical processes and forces have promoted democracy.
  • Developing a sophisticated defence of democracy against common prejudices.

3. Designing of democracy in India

How and why didIndiabecome a democracy?  How was the Indian constitution framed?  What are the salient features of the Constitution?  How is democracy being constant designed and redesigned inIndia?

  • Develop a historical sense of the choice and nature of democracy inIndia.
  • Introduction to the process of Constitution making
  • Develop respect for the Constitution and appreciation for Constitutional values.
  • Recognize that constitution is a living document that undergoes changes.

4. Electoral politics in democracy

Why and how do we elect representatives?  Why do we have a system of competition among political parties?  How has the citizen’s participation in electoral politics changed?  What are the ways to ensure free and fair elections?

  • Introduce the idea of representative democracy via competitive party politics.
  • Familiarise with our electoral system and reasons for choosing this.
  • Develop an appreciation of citizen’s increased participation in electoral politics.
  • Recognise the significance of the Election Commission.

5. Institutions of parliament democracy

How is the country governed?  What does Parliament do in our democracy?  What is the role of the President of India, the Prime Minister and the Council of Ministers?  How do these relate to one another?

  • Provide an overview of central governmental structures
  • Sensitise to the key role of the Parliament and its procedures.
  • Distinguish between nominal and real executive authorities and functions.
  • Understand the parliamentary system of executive’s accountability to the legislature

6. Citizens rights in democracy

Why do we need rights in a Constitution?  What are the Fundamental Rights enjoyed by the  citizen under the Indian  Constitution? How does the judiciary protect the Fundamental Rights of the citizen?  How is the independence of the judiciary ensured?

  • Develop a citizen’s awareness of their rights.
  • Introduction to and appreciation of the Fundamental Rights.
  • Recognition of the ways in which these rights are exercised and denied in real life situations.
  • Introduction to judicial system and key institutions like the Supreme Court, High Courts and National Human Rights Commission.

 

4.4.2 Class X: Democratic Politics-II- Objective

Themes Learning Objective
1. Working of democracy

Are divisions inherent to the working of democracy?  What has been the effect of caste on politics and of politics on caste?  How has the gender division shaped politics?  How do communal divisions affect democracy?

  • Analyse the relationship between social cleavages and political completion with reference to Indian situation
  • Understand and analyse the challenges posed by communalise to Indian democracy.
  • Understand the enabling and disabling effects of caste and ethnicity in politics
  • Develop a gender perspective on politics.

2. Power sharing mechanisms in democracy

Why and how is power shared in democracies?  How has federal division of power inIndiahelped national unity?  To what extent has decentralization achieved this objective?  How does democracy accommodate different social groups?

  • Introduce students to the centrality of power sharing in democracies.
  • Understand the working of spatial and social power sharing mechanisms.
  • Analyse federal provisions and institutions.
  • Understand the new Panchayati Raj institutions in rural and urban areas.

3. Competition and contestations in democracy

How do struggles shape democracy in favour of ordinary people?  What role do political parties play in competition and contestation?  Why have social movements come to occupy larger role in politics?

  • Understand the vital role of struggles in the expansion of democracy.
  • Analyse the party systems in democracies.
  • Introduction to major political parties in the country.
  • Analyse the role of social movements and non-party political formations.

4. Outcomes of democracy

Can or should democracy be judged by its outcomes?  What outcomes can one reasonably  expect of democracies?  Does democracy inIndiameet these expectations?  Has democracy led to development, security and dignity for the people?  What sustains democracy inIndia?

  • Introduction to the difficult question of evaluation the functioning of democracies.
  • Develop the skills of evaluation Indian democracy on some key dimensions: development, security and dignity for the people.
  • Understand the causes for continuation of democracy inIndia

5. Challenges to democracy

Is the idea of democracy shrinking?  What are the major challenges to democracy inIndia?  How can democracy be reformed and deepened?  What role can an ordinary citizen play in deepening democracy?

  • Distinguish between sources of strength and weaknesses of Indian democracy.
  • Reflect on the different kinds of measures possible to deepen democracy.
  • Promote an active and participatory citizenship.

4.3.3 Class XI: Political Theory : Learning Objectives

  • Develop the skills for logical reasoning and abstraction.
  • Inculcate attention to and respect for viewpoints other than one’s own.
  • Introduce students to the different political thinkers in relation to a concept and in everyday social life.
  • Enable students to meaningfully participate in a concern of current political life that surrounds them.
  • Encourage the students to analyse any unexamined prejudices that one may have inherited.

 

4.3.4 Class XI:     Indian Constitution at Work : Learning Objectives

  • Enable students to understand historical processes and circumstances in which the Constitution was drafted.
  • Provide opportunity for students to be familiar with the diverse vision that guided the makers of the Indian Constitution.
  • Enables students to identify the certain key features of the Constitution and compare these to other constitutions in the world.
  • Analyse the ways in which the provisions of the Constitution have worked in real political life.

 

4.3.5 Class XII: Politics in India Since Independence – Objectives

  • Enable students to be familiar with some of the key political events and figures in the post-independence period.
  • Develop skills of political analysis through events and processes of recent history.
  • Develop their capacity to link macro processes with micro situations and their own life.
  • Encourage the students to take a historical perspective of making sense of the contemporaryIndia.

4.3.6 Class XII: Contemporary World Politics Course: Learning

Objectives

  • Enable the students to expand their horizon beyond Indiaand make sense of the political map of contemporary world.
  • Familiarise the students with some of the key political events and processes in the post cold war era.
  • Equip student to be conscious of the way in which global events and processes shape our everyday lives.
  • Strengthen their capacity for political analysis by thinking of contemporary developments in a historical perspective.

4.3.7 Guidelines used for cartoons 

  •  Based on visual relief and fun
  •  Improve teaching and learning
  • Provides background information to help the students appreciate the message
  • Help expand students’ imagination

 

SECTION 5: Guidelines used by the Committee to

review the Materials and Visuals

 

The Review Committee reviewed the six textbooks keeping in view the above mentioned guidelines and principles, namely guiding principles of National Curriculum Framework – 2005, objective of Teaching of Social Sciences at Secondary and Higher Secondary Stage and Specific objectives of teaching political science at Secondary and Sr. Secondary stage.  Further the following criteria were also taken into consideration while reviewing the educational materials, consisting of both written text and visual including the cartoons. 

5.1     Criteria to Review the Content of Textbooks

     i.        Convergence:

While reviewing the textbooks the Committee examined whether the written text or contents were in consonance with the illustrations.

 

   ii.        Targeting of individuals or groups of individual 

The lessons were reviewed to see whether the content both verbal and non verbal and examples, targets individuals or group of individuals or are intended to clarify the concepts and content.  Whether there were distortions in explanation and interpretation?  Whether the illustrations or pictures were “event specific or person specific.” 

 iii.        Sense of proportion in presentation

Balance in content, illustrations, visuals, cartoons and other visuals.

 

 iv.        Analytical and synthesis mode

Whether the content of the lessons focuses only on analysis or on synthesis also.

 

   v.        Level of satire 

What is the level of satire? Is it appropriate for students of that age? Is the satire subtle or abrasive?

 vi.        Positive and negative examples

Is there a balance between positive and negative examples – case studies, cartoons, visuals, collage etc?

  1. Quality of illustration

Quality of the illustration was seen in terms of being eye-catching and stimulating the imagination

 

  1. Sensitivity 

a)    How sensitive are the cartoons and illustrations towards communities, castes, ethnicity, religions, women, language and other groups and minorities? In a country as diverse asIndiathe above considerations cannot be disregarded.

b)   Individual specific and issue specific visuals

 

5.2     Guidelines used for review of cartoons

The general objection raised in Parliament and outside Parliament by some groups was that the use of cartoons is inappropriate in some textbooks.  The letter by two Advisors to the Review Committee also mentions this.  The Committee tried to get the guidelines for the use of cartoons by NCERT.  It emerged from the discussion with the former Director of NCERT and Chief Advisors that no specific guidelines were laid down for the use of visuals including cartoons.  The general guidelines used for the written text were also used for selection of cartoons.  The Chief Advisors in the interactive meeting held on 28 May 2012 informed the Committee that the selection of the cartoons was generally left to the Textbook Development Team.

However the Chief Advisors in ‘A Letter to You’ in the books mentioned the importance of the cartoons in teaching.   In the textbook titled Indian Constitution at work for Class XI, importance of cartoons has been pointed out.  The Advisors write that “the cartoons are not there simply as comic relief. They tell about the criticisms, the weak spots and mear failures.  They also help to learn both about politics and about how to think about politics.  “Thus for these reasons, the Advisors emphasised the importance of cartoons in teaching.  Chief Advisors observed:

We cannot claim to be experts in educational psychology and it may be important to take experts’ view on whether or not students aged 15-18 should be exposed to cartoons. We simply shared and followed the spirit of NCF 2005 that invited us to bridge the gap between bookish leaning and the world outside the classrooms. Cartoons used in the Political Science textbooks do different things at different points in the text: entertain or engaged the readers, invite them to return to the text with a new range of questions or help them achieve   critical distance vis-a-vis received wisdom, including that of the textbook itself.—-Exposing the students to these and other cartoons from all over the world encourage them to relates to the working of democracy. Elements such as cartoons, pictures and news papers clipping aim at situating the abstract point in the context of the actual processes that unfolded in the past or are unfolding in the contemporary  movement. These are not visual distractions but integral to the design of these textbooks.”

The former Director of NCERT and the Chief Advisors thus attributed great significance to the use of cartoons in teaching.  This view indeed is supported by researchers as well.  It is argued that sociologically, cartoons are a powerful means of providing social and political comments because so often they are unmasking and they reveal the contrast between perception and reality.  Cartoons can be used with students to objectively analyse every day social behaviour and stimulus to reflections on attitudes. (Ziegler 1998, Witkin 1999, Khauan Wai Bing and Chua Hong Tam 2003, Taher Bahrani Rahmatollah Soltani, 2011) (see reference at the end).

However the views expressed by the Advisors did not mention about the precautions in the selection and use of the cartoons in teaching.  The literature on the use of the cartoons revealed that while it recognised their usefulness in teaching, it also demand precaution in their use.  There is a need for a careful balance with humour and the content that we would like our student to learn.” (Khauan Wai     Bing and Chua Hong Tam 2003, Taher Bahrani Rahmatollah Soltani, 2011).  The researchers have indicated precaution in few respects.  The first precaution is about the careful selection of the cartoons keeping in view the goals of the specific subject. It is through the careful selection and use of appropriate and relevant cartoons that an element of humour can be introduced, where appropriate, without detracting from the intension of the teaching.  The second precaution is that it is essential to practice using it at least once with a groups of learners before final inclusion in the textbook.  According to experts, this will help to find out if the cartoon selected is going to work and in the expected way with expected results. If they do not produce the desire effects, then it might need to be scrapped or modified (Taher Bahrani Rahmatollah Soltani, 2011).  The researchers also warn that, users has to guard against the overuse of cartoons or possible “unintended consequences”, particularly of caption humour, which are sensitive to certain groups  of people in  culturally diversified society.  The expert further cautioned that there is also the risk of offending through misunderstanding with any joke being perceived as source of ridicule, sarcasm or as being racist or sexist in nature (Khauan Wai     Bing and Chua Hong Tam 2003) . There is also likely to be differential response between the students due their background and language deficiency .It is for these risk elements that cartoons need to be used wisely. Wai and Tam argued that facilitators have to realize that what works for some people might not work for others. The researchers also caution about the overuse of cartoons and mentioned that ,” one has to be careful not to overuse cartoons or their effect will be diminished if not lost” .There is a  needs to be a careful balance with humour and the content that we would like our students  to learn, observed  Wai and Tam ( 2003) .

In the absence of clear guidelines for the use of cartoons by NCERT, the review Committee has kept these insights in consideration in reviewing the cartoons in six textbooks in Political Science. The Committee used the following criterion to review the cartoons:

  • ·         Based on visual relief and fun
  • ·         Improve teaching and learning
  • ·         Provides background information in the text  to help the students appreciate the message
  • ·         Help expand students’ imagination
  • ·         Sensitivity with respect to various caste, ethnic, religious, gender  and regional minorities
  • ·         Messages the cartoons give about the people and political Institutions.

 

SECTION 6: Recommendations – For Immediate

     Changes in the textbooks in Current Year

The Committee in the context of above mentioned analysis finds that the books under consideration have been prepared following a rigorous process using the NCF prescribed mandated pedagogical approach, NCERT guidelines for writing of textbooks especially of Social Sciences and Political Science.  The procedure included conduct of workshops for Textbook Development Teams, interaction with stakeholders at different levels and review by high-level National Monitoring Committee consisting of senior academics and MHRD officials.  Books were also reviewed by several State Governments appointed committees before their adoption by those State Boards.

The books not only cover new syllabi following NCF but also have been written following newly adopted pedagogical approach that includes extensive use of visuals, cartoons, story telling, puzzles, illustrations etc.  The use of these various teaching techniques has been pursued with well intension.  The purpose has been to be creative and engage students in a critical dialogue. The critical pedagogy enables the students to think on their own and be critically appreciative.

The books, as such, are well conceived. However, since the authors have used a new and alternate pedagogical approach for the first time in NCF 2005, they might not have been able to conduct adequate feedback studies from the concerned.  They may have reasons to believe that the cartoons used were not offensive but only reflected of commonly perceived notions.  In a society as vast and as diverse asIndiais, there can always be room for different understanding of the text and interpretation of visuals, and especially cartoons could be viewed differently by different segment of society. It is more so when, multiple sensitivities get involved.  The sensitivities, genuine or perceived, have to be taken note of and addressed carefully.  Best way for that can be pre-testing of texts and visuals in different setting such as rural- urban and various types of schools, discussion with different religious minorities and ethnic minorities, involvement of teachers and faculty from different social and religious background in textbook development, periodic updating, improving and redressing objections in an appropriate academic manner.  NCERT, it is understood, is ceased of this matter.  The Committee feels that an appropriate mechanism needs to be evolved for such periodic reviews.  In the present case NCERT can initiate a comprehensive exercise to evaluate the new pedagogical approach and concerned issues and formulate an appropriate roadmap for revision of books, particularly Social Science subjects.

As this Committee neither had such a mandate, nor time for a comprehensive review of books and evaluation of pedagogical approach it has tried to address some of the currently highlighted issues.  For that purpose, appreciating the hard work of the authors, approach and contents of the books, the Committee suggests removal or modification of some cartoons and visuals without prejudice towards any one.  As during the course of interaction with several experts, stakeholders, received inputs and reading of books the Committee has been able to get a number of suggestions regarding general revision of books in terms of updating, carrying corrections, inclusion of some information.  Laying emphasis on certain matters, providing space for thinkers or views etc. these are being submitted separately for consideration of NCERT and Textbook Development Team.  The overall purpose remains to encourage an inclusive, purposeful and pluralist education system particularly at the national level. Textbook wise suggestions are given below.

6.1 Class IX Democratic Politics – I

Page No. 67- Cartoon may be deleted due to the possibility of negative

messaging. The cartoon shows a criminal politician as a dark man and a gun man with him appears even more dark whereas the voter is coloured as faired which seems to be showing stereotyping related to some communities.

Page No. 81 -Cartoon focussing on Amul and reservation look like just filling the space and also negative message about reservation, thus be deleted.

Page No. 101-Caption Munni need be modified as “Is justice accessible to

rich and poor equally”

Page No. 106 – Caption below Unni should be modified as : If the Constitution is secular why do we see religious pictures in public places.

6.2   Class X    Democratic Politics-II

Page No. 45 – “Do you think that Indian Parliament is a divided House blocking the passage of the Women’s Reservation Bill?  What does this cartoon claim?” It is not clear. At the time of review of textbooks it may be modified.

Page No. 46 -The note below Munni cartoon may be modified as follows:

“Even if I am not religious, should I be concerned about communalism and secularism?”

Page No. 47 -The note above Unni be modified as “Is it right to crack jokes on any religion or community”?

Page No. 49 – The cartoon may be deleted keeping the sensitivity of the people towards religion.

Page No. 60 -The word ‘mature’ in the note below Unni may be deleted and the sentence will be rewritten as – because we are a developing democracy)

Page No. 66- Cartoon may be deleted as it is not a correct interpretation of the role of bureaucracy.

Page No. 74- Note below Munni may be rephrased as “Okay, granted that we can’t live without political parties.  How do we differentiate between good and bad parties”?

Page No. 77- Note below Unni may be rephrased as “Do we need so many political parties”?

Page No. 84 -Cartoon may be deleted because politicians and institutions are represented as animals.

Page No. 85- Both cartoons may be deleted (It does not convey any message, beside it is too crude)

Page No. 90 – There is no note below the cartoon.  Note is suggested “What are the challenges facing democracy?”

Page No. 110- The title ‘Reforming Politician’ may be substituted by ‘Reforming Politics’.

6.3   Class XI   Indian Constitution at Work

Page No. 18 -Cartoon should be deleted keeping in view the sensitivity of community

Page No. 18 -Dr. B.R. Ambedkars’s position as a Chairman of the Drafting Committee should be mentioned appropriately.

P—37(c) –the words “bows, arrows and axes may be deleted”

Page No. 73 -Cartoon may be deleted as it stereotypes all politicians as being criminals

Page No. 90 -Cartoon may be deleted as it is conveys a negative message.

Page No. 95 -Note below Munni may be rephrased as “Yes I know the officers

are public servants.  Do they really serve the people”?

Page No. 120 – Note below cartoon should be modified particularly the word

‘thrown out’

Page No. 144 – Cartoon may be deleted as it conveys a negative message

Page No. 165 -Both cartoons may be deleted as these cartoons are

ambiguous.

Page No. 166- Cartoon may be deleted as it is conveys a sense of ambiguity

Page No. 186 -Note below Munni cartoon “State Governments” should be

replaced with “Some State Governments”.

Page No. 205 -Note below Munni cartoon may be rephrased as “Why was

there need to amend the Constitution so many times”?

Page No. 216-Quotation by Shri Lakshminarayan Sahu may be deleted as it

is not related to the text.

 

6.4   Class XI   Political Theory

No Comments

 

Class XII Politics in India since Independence

Page No. 48 -The note below Unni may be deleted

Page No. 66 – Note below cartoon may be modified (to avoid too much personal focus).

Page No. 95 -Cartoon may be deleted as the subject is shown in an animal form.

Page No. 98 -Top cartoon may be deleted – being politically sensitive

Page No. 107- The note below cartoon may be changed as “Does the committed judiciary and committed bureaucracy mean that the judges and officers should be loyal to the ruling party? “What a pity” should be removed.

Page No. 133 -The two photographs which mention ‘Apartheid to indicate

caste and untouchability based discrimination, should be replaced by

another one which mention caste and untouchability discrimination.

Page No. 153- Cartoon may be deleted due to community sensitivity and offensivesness.  The statement that the boy cannot read English either makes fun of the general illiteracy of the progressing youth who becomes a symbol of Tamils and therefore present a patently prejudicial image.

Page No. 157 -Cartoon may be deleted due to regional sensitivity

Page No. 166 -Both cartoons imposed on news clippings may be deleted (Does not reflect the reality, that is stated in the text)

Page No. 169 -Cartoon may be deleted. No politician or institution may be represented as animal.

Page No. 175 -Message above Unni may be replaced with “I wonder how this will affect political parties”

 

6.6   Class XII Contemporary World Politics

No changes are suggested for this year

 APPENDIX 1 

General Recommendations to be considered at the time of review textbook wise in the next year

 The textbooks were written six years back and are due for revision in view of the developments in the country as well as in the world and also in terms of data.  Following suggestions based on received inputs and reading of books can be considered at the time of general review of books.

Class IX      Democratic Politics-

1.The data about the domestic as well as the international events be updated.

2.  As far as possible examples fromIndiaor from local situation may be       given.

3.  Language and sentence construction for the book needs improvement as it is difficult for students to understand

4.  The word Dalit should not be used.  In that place SC should be used or it should be verified whether the replacement is legally fine.

Chapter 1 Page No. 8 -Review 1.2 changing map of democracy (update

the maps at least it should be updated up to 2010)

Page No. 45-49 -Re-arrange position (Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru, Dr. Ambedkar, Smt. Sarojini Naidu, after Maulana Abul Kalam Azad)

Page No. 55-For General caption name should be indicated (Persons included in the photographs, for each of them should be identified with name)

Page No. 63- Map and data should be updated

Page No. 66- Has no relevance to the text (Munni should not always be behind the curtain) Why is Munni in spectacles at such a young age? Is it because of malnutrition or simply to show that she is a precocious child?

Page No. 71-Graph No. 2 the abbreviation of OBC/SC/ST may be given.

Page No. 80-Read the image be deleted as there is no learning

Class X       Democratic Politics-II

Page No. 16- It seems to assume that the teacher is well trained, as at many places the concept, information need triangulation.  The teacher’s assistance in education about the meaning of federalism is necessary.

We have observed that there are examples which our students inIndiacannot relate to. This needs to be kept in mind.

There is need to discuss as to how cartoons and newspaper clippings should be used as sources of pedagogy

Page No. 54- In place of ‘apartheid’ the words ‘caste discrimination or untouchability’ may be used?

Chapter-2 – A separate description may be provided below each cartoon.  It should not be clubbed together.

More Indian examples may be cited.

In Chapter 5 example from Indian movement may be given. (There are too many examples from outside).

Page No. 76 -At the time of the review, the author should      look into this issue and clarify the reason for selective inclusion. (not clear?)

Page No. 32 -The word Dalit should be replaced with Scheduled Caste or it should be verified from legal sources.

Page no. 2   -Note below Munni need be simplified (At the time of review of

textbooks)

Page No. 48- The quotation of ‘Faiz’ may be given in Urdu and then it

should be translated in three languages. (Hindi, English, Urdu)

Class XI      Indian Constitution at Work

The textbook should be concluded with positive aspects and limitation about the philosophy of constitution. The conclusion seems to focus on limitation with respect to procedure rather than main limitations of constitution.  Some aspect related to the role of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar in framing the Constitution should be included at appropriate places.

All cartoons in Hindi should be translated into English

Page No. 62 -data should be updated.

In Page Nos. 235-238 -The limitations of Constitution with respect to main intent of the Constitutions should have been discussed .The focus is placed on procedural issue such as ‘borrowed’ non-representative and alien to Indian situation. Thus in Chapter 10 Pages-236-238 may be rewritten.

Page No. 25- Question No. 9 under check your progress may be deleted due to ambiguity and it seems to be too tough.

Page no. 42-The year of establishment of National Human Rights Commission should be checked.

Page No. 47 -News clippings in Urdu may be added.

Page No. 49 Q. No. 4(c)-To be deleted as there is no reference in the text.

Page No. 55 -English version can also be added.

Page No. 63 -Dr. B.R. Ambedkar’s view on separate electorate (Poona Pact)

may also be included, to give the alternative view point on separate electorate

Page No. 66- Munni cartoon with message may be deleted as it has no relevance to the text)

Page No. 86 -Munni cartoon and message may be deleted as it is not relevant today.

Page No. 102 -Bullet Point 4 atrocities on Harijans may be deleted.

Page No. 103 -Andhra Pradesh be included in the map showing bi-cameral Legislatures.

Page No. 115 – Note below Unni cartoon may be deleted as it is unrelated to the text.

Page No. 167-168 -Recommendation by Dr. B.R. Ambedkar on

Reorganisation of States may be included, so as to provide alternative view

 

Class XI      Political Theory

No comments

Class XII     Politics in India since Independence

P-18- Difference between standstill agreement and the instrument of accession should be included at the time of review.

Cartoons should not be used to fill up space.

In Chapter 5 & 6 there are too many cartoons of Mrs. Indira Gandhi. The relevance of these cartoons may be reconsidered at the time of review of the textbook next year.

P-172-175 -General Suggestion: Amul advertisements seem to appear several times in the book. Are these really pedagogic material? This may be kept in view at the time of review of textbook next year.

Page No. 19-Views of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar’s on reorganization of       States should also be mentioned as an alternative views for the students on reorganisation of the States

Class XII     Contemporary World Politics

Since this is a book on Contemporary World Politics and because rapid changes occurs in world politics, the book should be revised every five year.  There are several new developments that might need mention such as the financial meltdown of 2008 or the defeat of the insurgency movements of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Elan (LTTE) in Sri Lanka in 2009 etc. Data needs to be updated.

The book should be thoroughly edited to minimise printing and grammatical errors.

Data needs to be updated

Page No. 87 -Picture needs updating

Page No. 125- The map is not clear. It may be replaced by some other

picture.

 APPENDIX 2

Other Suggestions given by Experts with whom the Committee interacted

Indian Constitution at Work

  1. Indian Constitution at Work needs thorough updating in the light of the recent developments in the form of constitutional amendments as well as political developments (elections, small state demands, anti-defection laws, local governments, Kashmir).
  1. Indian Constitution at work has two Characters, Unni and Munni. Unni is a bright looking boy with a red neck tie. He is either sitting on a sofa, going to school with a carry bag and a cricket bat in hand, standing in a posture or among the pile of books in study room. These characters  are repeated (42 times in Indian constitution at work), (27 times in Contemporary world politics in different colours) and (13 times in Political theory). Does the visual image of Unni represent an average child in a country where the text books speak of disparities between those in rural and urban areas and those coming from different socio-economic backgrounds? Similarly one of the visuals of Munni is that of a shy girl hiding behind the curtain. Would Unni ever hide behind the curtain?  These characters are repeated (12 times in Indian constitution at work), (5 times in Contemporary world politics in different colours) and (2 times in Political theory). Is the image appropriate from the view point of gender sensitivity? Does it not reinforce gender stereotypes?
  1. 3.   On the cover page of Indian Constitution at Work instead of having cartoons the facsimile of the text of the Preamble of the Indian Constitution should be given . 
  1. Cartoon on Page 125 seeks to focus on principle of rule of law. However, the message, is not delivered in the sense it is explained in the text (‘all individuals…are subjected to the same law’). Moreover, a ‘senior lawyer’ is being shown in the cartoon indulging in ‘fisticuffs’ within the courtroom premises.
  1. The cartoon is appropriately placed on page 71 and relates to the text. However the caption may be reworded ‘The Netaji is afraid of EC. Why do some leaders fear the Election Commission? Is this good for democracy?
  1. Factual errors should be corrected like the Constitution having 11 and not 10 fundamental duties (Page44).
  2. The Writs mentioned on page 41. Certiorari as explained needs a review.

Page 40: Article 32, considered as most important article by Dr Ambedkar must be mentioned. Likewise Article 37 must be there while referring to the significance of directive principles especially where it is mentioned that they are non-enforceable/’non-justiciable’ (Page 43).

Page 168: three new states came into existence in 2000AD.

Article 3 should have been mentioned (it appears in a truncated form on page 201).

The students must have acquaintance with some of the most important articles of the Constitution as it would enable them to read and understand political processes

  1. As for the seminal role of Babasaheb Dr B R Ambedkar, the relevant

Quotation from Krishnamachari and Anthony Eden as mentioned in the honourable chairman’s letter may be inserted in the text at appropriate place.

  • 10 On page 32, I would suggest that the famous quotation of Ambedkar   may be inserted which is as follows:  

On the 26th of January, we are going to enter a life of contradiction. In      politics we will have equality and in social and economic life we will    have inequality. In politics we will be recognizing the principle of one         man one vote value. In our social and economic life, we shall, by reason   of our social and economic structure, continue to deny the principle of       one man one value. How long shall we continue to live this life of          contradictions? How long shall we continue to deny equality in our    social and economic life? If we continue to deny it for long, we do so           only by putting our political democracy in peril.’

(Source: Constituent Assembly Debate, Vol. X, Official Report (New          Delhi), 1989, p. 979)

 

Class XII     Politics in India since Independence

The shift in emphasis in various five year plans may also be incorporated at P-62 in order to keep the students updated withIndia’s planning.

APPENDIX 3

Letters received sent to the Committee are given in

Sl. No. Name of organization  Subject Date
1. Office of the District Magistrate Nasik)  (Dist-Nasik State-Maharashtra)

Additional District Magistrate, Nashik (signed by 13 persons)Cartoonist image published in 11th Std. Political Science book.

Ref: Representation of Shri Rahul Tuplondhe and other, Atyachar Virodhi Kruti Samit Nashik on 04/04/12Received on 23/04/122.Delhi Scheduled Castes Welfare Association  (Regd.)Strong protest over publication of sacrilegious ‘cartoon’ showing Dr. B.R. Ambedkar on a snail labelled Constitution, cracking a whip, behind by Jawaharlal Nehru, Prime MinisterReceived on 14/05/123.SAHMAT Safdar Hashmi Memorial Trust (signed by 15 academicians)Statement on cartoon controversyReceived on 18/05/124Dr. H.S. Sinha, Former Member of K.U. Court and former Chairman, Philosophy Deptt., Amolak Ram Colony, Gamri Road, KurukshetraVulgarity and Indecorum in NCERT booksReceived on 30/05/125.nf{k.k gfj;k.kk fodkl yksd eaPk jsokMhCkkck lkgsc vacsMdj dkVZwu vkSj nfyr jktuhfr dh vlfg”.kqrk ckjsfnukad 4 twu  2012 dks izkIr fd;k6.Ms. Kum Kum Lamba A.D.E. (Schools)Strong protest over publication of sacrilegious ‘cartoon’ showing Dr. B.R. Ambedkar on a snail labelled Constitution, cracking a whip, behind by Jawaharlal Nehru, Prime MinisterReceived on 6 June 20127.Received from MHRDLetter from Shri Thol. Thirumaavalavan, MP (LS) regarding objectionable cartoon in the NCERT textbooks.Received on 07/06/128.T. SivakumarPolitics in India Since Independence Class XII P-153By email on 9 June 20129.Baba Saheb Ambedkar Memorial Action Council (A joint front of social organisations)Protest over publication of sacrilegious ‘cartoon’ showing Dr. B.R. Ambedkar on a snail labelled Constitution, cracking a whip, behind by Jawaharlal Nehru, Prime MinisterReceived on 13/06/1210.Dr. B.R. Ambedkar Vichar Manch (Regd.), Shri R.L. Kain, General Secretary

Retd. DANICS Officer, Social Activist, RTI faculty with UNCT of GNCT of Delhi and Delhi, Politcal Trainign College, New Delhi Research Scholar at National Archives & Jawaharlal NehruProtest over publication of sacrilegious ‘cartoon’ showing Dr. B.R. Ambedkar on a snail labelled Constitution, cracking a whip, behind by Jawaharlal Nehru, Prime MinisterReceived on 13/06/1211.Body for the Management of Temple and Samadhies of Swami Chhotey Das and Ram Dass (Regd.)Protest over publication of sacrilegious ‘cartoon’ showing Dr. B.R. Ambedkar on a snail labelled Constitution, cracking a whip, behind by Jawaharlal Nehru, Prime MinisterReceived on 13/06/1212.Shri Ganeshamurthi, Member of Parliament Lok Sabha Erode-Tamil NaduCartoon in the NCERT book, distorting history and hurts the sentiments of people of TamilnaduDated 8 June 201213Shri Vaiko General Secretary M.D.M.KCartoon in the NCERT book, distorting history and hurts the sentiments of people of TamilnaduReceived from Prof. M.S.S. Pandian by mail on 08/06/1214.Shri P.L. Punia, Member of Parliament, Chairman National Commission for Scheduled CastesCopy of the letter received from MHRD Deptt. of School Education and Literacy along with photocopy of the ConstitutionAddressed to Hon. HRD Minister

 

 References

1        Taher, Bahrani ( 2011) -The pedagogical value of cartoons,   Research     on Humanities and Social Sciences, Vol.1,No 4,2011

2.       Khuan,Wai ,Bing and Chua Hong Tam-( 2003) A fresh look at       cartoons      as a media of instruction in teaching Mathematics and        Sciences in Malayasian schools: A Hand -on experience ,ELTC ETeMS conference 2003 :Managing Curricular change ,2-4 December 2003,

3.       Sine Lex and Per Mouritsen (2009)- Approaches to Cultural          Diversity in the Danish Education System : The Case of Public    Schools,  Department of Political Sciences, University of         AARHUS, European Commission.

DISSENT NOTE BY MSS PANDIAN

A Report on the NCERT Political Science Textbooks for Classes IX to XII:
M.S.S. Pandian, Member, the NCERT Committee for Reviewing the Textbooks of Social Science/Political Science.

It is hardly possible, in my considered opinion, to identify ‘educationally
inappropriate material’ in the textbooks under review, without taking into account the pedagogic intent and the pedagogical methods of these books.
Firstly, in the light of the National Curriculum Framework 2005, the former Director of the NCERT, Prof. Krishna Kumar, notes in the foreword to each of these textbooks, ‘Treating the textbook as the sole basis of examination is one of the key reasons why other resources and sites of learning are ignored. Inculcating creativity and initiative is possible if we perceive and treat children as participants in leaming, not as receivers of a fixed body of knowledge.’

In other words, the pedagogical intent of these textbooks is to treat learning as a series of creative and critical acts in interpretation, mediated both by the classroom and the wider world. For instance, in Democratic Politics – I  (Textbook in Political Science for Class IX), the Advisors to these textbooks write, ‘…You may encounter many contentious themes during this tour. Our attempt here is not to hand over a definite opinion to the students but to enable them to think on their own.’

This is precisely why the textbooks under review, without being treated as self-standing and as the only source of knowledge and leaming, encourages learners to read magazines such as Frontline, India Today, Outlook and The Week (see Contemporary World Politics: Textbook in Political Science for Class X11), consult online sources (Democratic Politics -I: Textbook in Political Science for Class IX), read newspapers and collect different types of information
(Democratic Politics – I: Textbook in Political Science for Class IX).

Again, the visual material in the books – postal stamps, photographs, advertisements, cartoons etc. — are selected and arranged in such a manner that these textbooks do not ‘hand over a definite opinion to the students but to enable them to think on their own.’ Referring to this particular.role of the visuals in the textbooks Democratic Politics – I: Textbook in Political
Science for Class IX, for instance, notes, ‘Munni and Unni are two characters specially designed for the book by cartoonist Irfan Khan. The two of them keep appearing every now and then to ask all kinds of questions: impish, irrelevant, irreverent or even impossible. The questions are sparked off by the points made in the text. But in most cases you will not find the answer in the
textbook itself… They give the space to take a detour and get into a side discussion that is often richer than the main one…’

In other words, the visual materials in the textbooks do not merely illustrate the text, but engage with it in a critical dialogue, opening up spaces for the leamers to enquire, question, and interpret. Given this pedagogical method, the text and the visuals in these books cannot work independent of each other. In a manner of speaking, only in the mutuality of the text and the visuals, these textbooks realize their pedagogical intent. Doing them apart will be pedagogically deleterious.

Let me add here, the visuals do not spare even the textbook writers. In Indian
Constitution at Work: Textbook in Political Science for Class Xl,kfan Khan’s Unni poses the question, ‘Am I just a figurehead or am I asking real questions? Did the textbook writers give me power to ask questions I wish to ask or am I asking questions they have in their mind?’

Finally, the National Curriculum Framework 2005 also places emphasis on
‘values enshrined in the Constitutions of India’ as one of the foundational principles of school-level pedagogy. The textbooks consciously and splendidly capture these values.

Let me offer two instances from Democratic Politics
– I: Textbook in Political Science for Class IX. k offers the learners following set of reasons justifying democracy as a political system:
‘Democratic government is a better government because it is a more accountable form of government.'; ‘…democracy improves the quality of decision making.'; ‘Democracy provides a method to deal with diff-erences and conflicts.'; ‘Democracy enhances the dignity of citizens.'; ‘…democracy
is better than other forms of government because it allows us to correct its own mistakes.’

All these statements are highlighted in the book by employing bold typefaces.
What is more, one of the exercises given to the learners, asks the learners to do the following:
‘Form different groups in your class and collect different types of information (newsclippings, articles, photographs, cartoons, etc.) about struggle for democracy in any country that is currently not democratic.’

Yet, it is common knowledge that politics on ground strays away often from
‘values enshrined in the Constitutions of India’. In the spirit of upholding these values, the books invite the learners – often by means of political cartoons – to reflect seriously on these real-life deviations in politics.

Against this backdrop of the pedagogical intent and method of these textbooks
– which are indeed imaginative exercises in critical pedagogy – I read all the textbooks with care, and from my own location as a teacher, as a parent, and as someone who has a steadfast commitment to certain kind of transformative politics. While reading these textbooks, I did take into account the suggestions by subject experts and the concems expressed by political parties, educational
and other NGOs, and public intellectuals. After the rewarding exercise of reading them, I do not find – let me confess, contrary to my expectation — anything educationally inappropriate in them; and they should be used as they are.

This, however, does not mean, these textbooks are forever. Like everything else — be it life, society or political icons — these books will court redundancy over time. In my judgment, that time is not yet. After all, what is often being perceived as ‘politically incorrect’ need not be educationally inappropriate’ .

M.S.S. Pandian,
Professor of History, Centre for Historical Studies,
Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi 110067.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. voyeur permalink
    July 4, 2012 10:54 AM

    I took me quite a while to plod through the whole thing. However having read it and compared it with the actual cartoons, here’s what I have to say.

    1)Some suggestions are welcome, such as the ones where they say that the clippings/cartoons in Hindi may be accompanied by translation. There are also ones where the committee points out certain cartoons which are not really relevant to the text. I agree with them on this also.

    2)The committee has taken a stance wherein it has tried to eliminate any cartoon which suggests a “negative view”. In this are cartoons such as where Munni asks if the justice system does not treat the rich better (Or something to the effect). The committee wants it replaced by a euphemistic way of putting it. In other instances they want the negative sentiment removed. I would like to point out that in no way is the negative sentiment being imparted. In every instance even this negative sentiment is posed as a question by Unni, Munni or other character and not in the main text itself. These so called negative sentiments are things the student is going to hear anyway outside of the classroom also. If say a student hears outside that elections are fought for money only, is it not desirable that her education equips her to be aware of the context of such a criticism and enable her to understand what disfunctionality is being spoken about here?

    3)The controversial cartoon (that of Ambedkar) is dealt with in a shoddy manner. To say that it should be removed just because of “sensitivity of community” is to mischievous. The implication being that there is no problem with it otherwise but we’ll remove it as a concession to those who are protesting against it. Compare the manner in which they deal with another controversial cartoon in class XII text book about the anti Hindi agitation. They properly recognize its offensiveness and say that it is demeaning.

    4)At times this cleansing of textbooks amounts to replacing it with something that means entirely different. Example where Unni asks if it is wrong of him to always make jokes about persons of one community. It is extremely relevant because a lot of people crack Sardar jokes all the time. To replace this with jokes about religion or community would be wrong. While jokes about religion or community do exist and are sometime extremely vicious, they are not even close to being as ubiquitous as sardar jokes. (Sardar jokes are not specifically mentioned in the text book or in the report, nor am I insinuating that Sikhs are the only community that is made fun of, I just took an example from my own life where most people around me, including a couple of Sikhs seem not to think too much about the communal angle of Sardar jokes)

    MSS Pandian’s dissent note restates one important point that a lot of the things here are not to deliver an opinion but rather to get the student to think for themselves. This does not seem to have been kept in mind by the review committee which has eliminated a lot of cartoons which seem not to be giving the message they want. I believe that as long as it is not presented in an offensive manner, it is necessary that the so called “negative” side also be brought before the student and she be allowed to consider it. To say that children won’t understand it and can fall prey to prejudice is not right and is underestimating children’s capabilities. If they are given no chance to think critically, you can be sure they will never learn to do so.

    However I would also like to bring in a point here from an article I read on roundtableindia (I forget article name and author and hence can’t quote it or link it, but it’s about the Ambedkar cartoon controversy). Take the Ambedkar cartoon, lets say both an offensive and inoffensive interpretation can be given, take it to an average classroom where a majority of students come from families where they have heard expressed prejudices about Dalits and their leader. The author was also apprehensive of the attitude of the teachers. In a discussion in a classroom, what sort of interpretation do you think the cartoon is going to get?

    • shipra permalink
      July 4, 2012 2:29 PM

      I think the last two paragraphs are contradictory- either we allow the child the critical faculty to engage with different interpretations or we dont.

      Classrooms are microcosms of society and often reproduce its prejudices and biases – they can be extremely vitiated spaces too. What should be the task of critical pedagogy then ? Will simply deleting the cartoon help? Take the case of the Ambedkar cartoon – if the cartoon is contextualied in the textbook with a gist of all possible interpretations, from those which find it offensive to those who find it progressive , i cannot see how discussing the offensive interpretations would in any way further the prejudice and biases which exist, at the best it would make some simply more aware of the ways in which seemingly harmlesss cartoons can also cause offence to certain sensibilities. At worse it would reaffirm what they already thought , but discussing it openly out there can make them ( both children and teachers) only aware that differences with such opinions exist.

      Besides , i feel there is a patronisation of students in this excessive focus on the classroom, more so of dalit students . Dalit students then come across as people incapable of participating in bringing in their experiences and understanding while the teachers and the upper caste students are placed as those capable of doing so. They are also active learners and their own life experiences perhaps equip them to deal with these better . I find it extremely surprising that the review committee itself did not think of considering the opinions and reactions of a cross section of students and teachers in its report. These texbooks are but a small part of a larger attempt to equip the student with a critical faculty – they cannot be made to bear the burden of the entire social and political discourse which emerges within the classroom . To equip students coming from different marginalised communities and locations to deal with seen and unseen forms of discrimination, a more multipronged strategy is required- teacher training, safegaurds against discrimination, alternative modes of teaching , supplementary or bridging curriculum etc. This does not imply that textbooks should simply be sanitised from different aspects of the social reality within which they are embedded.

      Also to the comment : ‘To say that it should be removed just because of “sensitivity of community” is to mischievous. The implication being that there is no problem with it otherwise but we’ll remove it as a concession to those who are protesting against it. Compare the manner in which they deal with another controversial cartoon in class XII text book about the anti Hindi agitation. They properly recognize its offensiveness and say that it is demeaning.’
      I beg to completely disagree. When so many alternative readings of the Ambedkar cartoon exist, it would have been an insult to all those ( this includes quite a few dalit readings too) who dared to read them in a ‘inoffensive’ and even ‘progressive’ manner , to recognize this cartoon as ‘offensive and demeaning’ . So here the Thorat comittee could rightly not say so for no such clearly offensive reading atleast is possible after all this debate. But since the cartoon has led to alternative readings which deem it as possibly ‘insensitive to a community’ , it is utterly unusable without adequate contextualisation now . Hence this is the only place where i think the committee’s reccomendations were not ‘mischievous’ . It is simply stating an existing fact – alternative interpretations exist which might possibly offend certain senstivities but those are not universally accepted within and outside the community.

      Where the anti hindi agitation is concerned – it is more clearly demeaning and hence different from the Ambedkar cartoon in the absence of such open ambiguities. Different images do differ in their capacity to offend and in the limits to reasonable possibilities of different readings they lend themselves to. However here i feel the Committee has again not contextualised it within the text which clearly celebrates the anti hindi agitation in absolutely unambigous terms. The purpose of including that cartoon was then just to introduce students to a historical moment and show them how it was possibly recieved in certain quarters. It does not endorse it, infact openly critiques such perceptions. How can we say then that the cartoon should be simply removed ? Sanitise them by not allowing them to even become aware of different ways in which events, rigfhtly or wrongly , have been recieved by different sections of our society in past ?

      Also And here are the experts saying their opinions were ignored ( all petitions, letters supporting the textbooks and cartoons have been ignored, while selected one’s against only are mentioned) :

      http://www.indianexpress.com/news/cartoons-row-experts-say-thorat-panel-ignored-views/970112/

      • voyeur permalink
        July 6, 2012 5:15 PM

        You are right about the contradictions. The contradictions are in my mind also. I don’t know which is right, I’ve just read both sides of the argument (one side saying that we should allow children to engage with it and the other side saying it would be dangerous to allow such engagement when the atmosphere is prejudiced) All I can say is I was convinced by both when I read them and haven’t been able to decide which is right. I posted it as a comment here so that reactions (such as yours) would give me more clarity.

        About the Ambedkar cartoon itself, I would like to clarify that I did not mean to say the cartoon should be removed for being offensive, nor am I discounting the other inoffensive/progressive interpretations of the same. That is a different debate. I am just saying that if you are going to remove a cartoon, to say that you are removing it just because someone has a problem with it, is wrong. This approach does a great disservice to 1) the textbook, the students, the teachers etc. because they are losing content for no good reason. 2) to the persons who objected to the cartoon because this is not a response to their claim after evaluation but a concession in response to the fact that they have a claim.

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