Dr. Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank, Union Cabinet Minister for Human Resource Development, has posted a series of tweets in which he clarified the controversy around exclusion of certain topics from the CBSE Syllabus. In the thread, he said that the news agencies and reporters have restored to sensationalism by connecting topics selectively and portrayed a false narrative.
There has been a lot of uninformed commentary on the exclusion of some topics from #CBSESyllabus. The problem with these comments is that they resort to sensationalism by connecting topics selectively to portray a false narrative.— Dr. Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank (@DrRPNishank) July 9, 2020
Course-wide reduction of topics amid Covid-19
Nishank said that CBSE has already clarified that they asked the schools to follow NCERT Alternative Academic Calendar amid coronavirus pandemic. He said that all the topics mentioned had been covered under the Academic Calendar. The main aim of an alternate calendar is to reduce the stress on students by cutting down the syllabus by 30 percent that has been advised by various experts and educationists.
He said, “The exclusions are merely a 1-time measure for exams,” and added that it was easy to selectively pick exclusion of 3-4 topics like nationalism, local government, federalism, etc. and build a false narrative around it. However, no one cared to mention that the exclusion is happening across subjects. He added that Measures of Dispersion, Balance of Payments Deficit, etc., in Economics and Heat Engine & Refrigerator, Heat Transfer, Convection & Radiation in Physics are few examples of excluded topics.
What is the controversy?
On 7th July 2020, CBSE announced the revised Academic Curriculum for the session 2020-21 for the classes XI and XII. CBSE urged schools to reduce the burden on other classes as well. In the letter, CBSE mentioned that they are taking the said step to reduce the burden on students during a pandemic. They also noted that the schools might ensure that the students learn these topics, but they will not be part of the internal assessment and year-end board exam.
Many reports and MSM news agencies picked up the news and tried to twist some facts to launch a false narrative. They tried to imply that the HRD Ministry is using Covid-19 to remove crucial topics like nationalism, federalism, local government, and more from the curriculum. Papers, like Telegraph, mentioned in their article, “The government’s critics have underlined that many of the axed topics tend to promote knowledge and ideas that are unfriendly to the RSS-BJP ideology,” which is too far-fetched.
Nidhi Razdan, who recently announced her departure from NDTV and said she would teach journalism at Harvard University, seems to be ignorant about the topic in her tweet.
While Indian Express did mention that the reduction is only for the year 2020-21 and posted a complete list of topics in the article, they too did not shy away from using a sensationalized social media post to catch the eye of the readers.
Youth Congress used an article published by NDTV and called it cheap government tactics to keep the young generation unaware and silenced.
Misinterpretation of press releases and statements from the government is not new. Recently, after the Galwan Valley stand-off, the statement of PM Narendra Modi was misinterpreted by the mainstream media and PMO had to release a clarification in the matter.