In a significant development, a high-level panel for social sciences constituted by the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) has recommended the replacement of the name “India” with “Bharat” in textbooks for classes 5 to 12. The committee’s chairperson, CI Issac, made this announcement on October 25, emphasizing the need for this change in the educational landscape.
The panel’s recommendations extend beyond the name change. They propose the introduction of “classical history” in place of “ancient history” within the curriculum and the inclusion of the Indian Knowledge System (IKS) across all subjects. This holistic approach aims to provide students with a more comprehensive understanding of India’s history and culture.
While these recommendations are significant, NCERT officials have clarified that no final decision has been made yet regarding their implementation. This emphasizes the thoughtful consideration that such changes require.
Isaac further noted that the committee also recommends highlighting “Hindu victories” in various battles within the textbooks. He pointed out that while failures are currently mentioned, significant victories over the Mughals and sultans are often overlooked. Isaac, who is also a member of the Indian Council of Historical Research (ICHR), underscores the importance of a balanced historical narrative.
These recommendations align with the ongoing revision of the school curriculum, driven by the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020. In response to this policy, the NCERT has established a 19-member National Syllabus and Teaching Learning Material Committee (NSTC) tasked with finalizing the curriculum, textbooks, and learning materials for the specified classes. This committee includes notable figures such as ICHR Chairperson Raghuvendra Tanwar, Professor Vandana Mishra from Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), Vasant Shinde, former vice-chancellor of the Deccan College Deemed University, and Mamta Yadav, a sociology teacher in a Haryana government school.
These proposed changes in the curriculum are part of the broader transformation of the Indian education system, aimed at improving the learning experience and outcomes for students. It is expected that the new curriculum, aligned with NEP, will be the foundation for textbooks in the 2024 academic session, signifying a significant shift in the education landscape.