The Kerala government has criticised the removal of chapters on the periodic table and challenges to democracy, among other topics from Class 10 textbooks by the National Council for Educational Research and Training, and said it amounts to challenging democratic and secular values.
The new textbooks with the changes announced by the NCERT last year as part of a "rationalisation" exercise have now hit the market. Apart from the periodic table and challenges to democracy, contribution of agriculture to the national economy and sustainable management of natural resources were also dropped from Class 10 textbooks.
"The unilateral action of the NCERT to remove the topics under the guise of rationalisation is a challenge to the democratic and secular values of our country. Kerala has already declared that it cannot be accepted, as it challenges the entire existing democratic order in the country," State Education Minister V Sivankutty has said in a statement issued on Friday night.
He said, "NCERT has taken the approach of removing topics on our father of the nation Mahatma Gandhi, Maulana Azad, and other topics related to the country's common history, the theory of evolution, the periodic table, democratic values and the current challenges faced by the country."
"In order to protect secularism and democracy and to teach the real historic facts and to develop scientific temper, Kerala will guard public education and strengthen it," Sivankutty said.
"Kerala has already announced that we will publish supplementary textbooks incorporating the omitted text sections, upholding the original history enshrining democratic and secular values," he added.
The Left leader said the NCERT, which was set up on the basis of the 2005 National Curriculum Framework, has been demolishing the very goals of the NCF through the removal of such passages from textbooks.
Even though the Class 10 chemistry textbook drops the entire chapter that introduces students to the periodic table, it remains part of the syllabus for Class 11.
Among other deletions made last year in the Class 10 Science textbook were passages on Evolution.
Topics that have been struck off the science textbooks include chapters on fibre and fabrics in Classes 6, 7 and 8. One deletion that stands out is that of the "Why do we fall ill" chapter from the Class 9 science textbook.
Among the references dropped from the Class 12 history textbook were certain portions on Mahatma Gandhi and how his pursuit of Hindu-Muslim unity "provoked Hindu extremists", and how there was a ban on the RSS.
"Gandhiji's death had a magical effect on communal situation in the country", "Gandhi's pursuit of Hindu-Muslim unity provoked Hindu extremists", and "organisations like RSS were banned for some time" are among the portions deleted.
The portions referring to the Gujarat riots were also dropped from the Class 11 sociology textbook, months after the NCERT removed the reference to the 2022 communal violence in two Class 12 textbooks.