Bengaluru, Sept 23: Facing flak from various quarters, the Karnataka government restored chapters on historical figures Tipu Sultan, Hyder Ali and Sangolli Rayanna and instead dropped chapters on British rulers in India from history textbooks for Classes 6 and 7. This is part of the exercise to reduce the syllabus as reopening of schools has been delayed due to the Covid crisis.
In July, the government announced it had reduced syllabi by 30% as part of efforts to cut working days for classes 1 to 10 from the usual 200 days to 120. Among lessons truncated in Social Studies were chapter 5 of class 7 that deals with Hyder Ali, Tipu Sultan, historical places of Mysuru, and the administration of commissioners.
Chapters on the drafting committee of the Constitution and salient features of the Constitution and ‘entire lessons’ on Jesus Christ and Prophet Mohammed had been dropped since they are taught in Class 9. This had triggered angry reactions and protests in the state.
Tipu Sultan has been a contentious figure, with BJP opposing the Siddaramaiah government’s decision to celebrate his birth anniversary. Some BJP MLAs had petitioned the Yediyurappa government to drop academic content on the Mysuru ruler.
‘Reduced syllabus will take away kids’ burden’
The government restored chapters on Krantiveera Sangolli Rayanna, who fought the British as a general of Kittur Rani Chenamma, especially after it came under attack from community leaders and mutt pontiffs from the Kuruba community.
“We reduced the syllabus by 30% after restoring all controversial chapters. The report will be sent to the government and the new syllabus will be published on the portal soon after we get approval,” said MT Made Gowda, managing director, Karnataka Textbooks Society.
S Suresh Kumar, minister for primary and secondary education, said he’s looking into the report.
Education department officials, however, said the truncated version is expected to be published soon after the ongoing monsoon session scheduled to end on Saturday. “We were open to revision since our intention was never to hurt anybody’s sentiments or to deprive students from learning any particular lessons. The reduced version will take away unnecessary burden both on students and teachers considering the shortage of time,” said Suresh Kumar, insisting that the changes are applicable to only the current academic year.
The main objection was that it was done without consulting two expert committees appointed last year to look into demands from a section of BJP legislators to remove chapters that allegedly glorify Tipu Sultan.
The panel headed by Ashwath Narayan, a history professor from Mysuru University, was asked to make recommendations about the content in textbooks (classes 8 to 10) and the other led by TR Chandrashekhar, a retired history professor from Hampi University, was tasked with reviewing the history parts of classes 6 and 7. Both panels had advised against removing chapters on Tipu.
“The first version was defective asit removed certain chapters entirely and portions which were the continuity of what students had learnt in previous classes. Now, it has been corrected,” said Chandraskhekar.