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IN A first, Rajasthan’s latest curriculum change for secondary and senior secondary classes in government schools includes textbooks on “socially relevant schemes” that propagate the flagship initiatives of BJP governments at the Centre and in the state. But the textbooks, in Hindi, also outline some curious ideas: one of them says the desirable physical attributes of an entrepreneur include “good height” and “beautiful complexion”. The textbooks, dedicated to key central and state government schemes, focus mainly on announcements made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and instructs students to “internalise each word” of his Swacch Bharat pledge.
The chapter on Skill Development in a Class 12 textbook lists the “physical attributes” desirable in an entrepreneur, including “Uttam swasthya, prabhavshali vyaktitva, acchi unchai, sundar rang, shaleenta, gambhirta (perfect health, impressive personality, good height, beautiful complexion, sobriety, seriousness).”
Samajopayogi Yojanayein (Socially-relevant Schemes) is a four-part series of textbooks for classes 9 to 12, comprising four chapters each on central schemes like Swacch Bharat Abhiyan and Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana, and state government flagships like Mukhyamantri Jal Swavalamban Yojana and Bhamashah Yojana.
In a chapter on the state government’s financial inclusion scheme, Bhamashah is described as having provided financial assistance to Maharana Pratap, which helped the Rajput ruler defeat Mughal forces.
The chapters elaborate on concepts of cleanliness and its impact on health, waste management, sustainable development, financial inclusion, water conservation, revival of traditional water structures and empowerment of women.
However, a substantial part of the textbooks, prepared by a seven-member team of government school teachers, highlights initiatives of the Prime Minister and Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje, including Budget announcements, and portions on the Make in India initiative and the Resurgent Rajasthan investment summit.
“This has never happened before in the history of the state. There used to be small sections or boxes on social schemes like MNREGA and RTI in textbooks but entire textbooks detailing government schemes is a first,” said Komal Srivastava of the Bharat Gyan Vigyan Samiti, a voluntary organisation engaged in promoting scientific education.
The chapter on Swachh Bharat Abhiyan in the Class 12 textbook details announcements made by the Prime Minister, besides success stories from Rajasthan.
“Repeat the pledge delivered by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to all citizens of the country on 2nd October 2014 and internalise its every word,” the chapter instructs.
The Opposition Congress slammed the government over the changes.
“This is unbelievable. In the recent past, the BJP government has altered and removed important historical facts from textbooks. Now they have stooped to the level of using school education as a platform for BJP propaganda,” said Congress state president Sachin Pilot.
The government, however, defended the decision.
“It was being felt that existing school books had inadequate Rajasthani content. That is why these changes were introduced. Still, about 70 per cent of the syllabus is based on NCERT curriculum, only 30 per cent is focused locally,” B L Chaudhary, chairman, Rajasthan Board of Secondary Education, told The Indian Express.