May 15, 2013, 12:00 am
Having faced criticism over objectionable content in school textbooks, the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) has ruled that all 14,000 institutions affiliated to it must stick to NCERT and CBSE textbooks. All schools will also have to set up websites declaring relevant information, including details pertaining to textbooks being used.
Making these conditions for affiliation, the board recently amended its affiliation bylaws to ensure that only properly scrutinised textbooks are used for teaching across all CBSE-affiliated schools. While schools will be free to use textbooks other than those prescribed by the NCERT or CBSE, the new rules mandate that these textbooks must be in keeping with the NCERT syllabus and the National Curriculum Framework.
"While we do know that the contents of NCERT/ CBSE textbooks have been scrutinised before, we are not so sure of other textbooks that a school may choose to use. Therefore, in case of these textbooks if anything is found amiss in terms of the information given, the principal liability will now lie with the school principal and manager. The CBSE affiliation norms have been amended effecting the same," a CBSE official confirmed.
The CBSE was under fire last year over content in textbooks being used in some schools affiliated to it. In one instance, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa stepped in seeking removal of ’objectionable content’ in a Class IX textbook’s reference to the Nadar community. Still another textbook had caused quite a furore: The textbook, titled ’New Healthway: Health, Hygiene, Physiology, Safety, Sex Education, Games and Exercises, reportedly said that non-vegetarians "easily cheat, tell lies, forget promises, are dishonest, tell bad words, steal, fight, turn to violence and commit sex crimes".
All schools have been asked to create a website before August, failing which the registration of students for board exams will not be done. Very few CBSE schools currently have websites. Over 14,000 CBSE schools will have to create a website and declare all relevant information from fee structure to textbooks, facilities and infrastructure available, teachers’ salary structure and so on. The measure is aimed at bringing in greater transparency in the school education system besides ensuring schools move on to new technological platforms.