Only Classes 3, 6 are likely to receive new NCERT textbooks in 2024-25

So far, only books for Classes 1 and 2 are available, with 3 and 6 in the pipeline

February 24, 2024 08:45 pm | Updated February 25, 2024 02:07 am IST - New Delhi

The new National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) textbooks for the school academic year 2024-25 will most likely only be introduced for Class 3 and 6, as per sources in the Ministry of Education (MoE).

The new National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) textbooks for the school academic year 2024-25 will most likely only be introduced for Class 3 and 6, as per sources in the Ministry of Education (MoE). | Photo Credit: The Hindu

The new National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) textbooks for the school academic year 2024-25 will most likely only be introduced for Class 3 and 6, as per sources in the Ministry of Education (MoE). Textbooks for Class 1 and 2 based on the National Curriculum Framework (NCF) and National Education Policy 2020, have already been released, and are available in bookstores and on the NCERT website as PDFs for free. The MoE had, on November 10, 2023, said that textbooks for all grades, from Classes 1 to 12 would be introduced in the upcoming academic year, in line with the new NCF launched last year.

While notifying curricular area groups responsible for drafting textbooks last year, the NCERT had indicated that the timeline for submitting the final draft of textbooks for all classes was February 10. The MoE sources say that textbook drafts for Class 3 have been received. These drafts, including those for English, Hindi, and Urdu, Maths, and ‘The World Around Us,’ earlier known as Environmental Studies (EVS), are being proof-read, edited and vetted by the NCERT before they are published and circulated to schools across the country.

For Class 6, textbook drafts for Maths, Science, and the languages (English, Hindi, Urdu, and Sanskrit) are also in the process of being finalised. It is also likely for History, Geography, and Political Science to be merged into one textbook of Social Science. Currently, Class 6 students study from three publications: Our Pasts; Our Earth: Our Habitat; Social and Political Life. “However there is no clarity on this yet as those drafts have not been received for vetting,” the MoE source said.

After the drafts are submitted to NCERT, editors are assigned to proofread textbooks subject-wise. “Each editor can read a maximum of 20 to 30 pages each day, but now they are being instructed to finish proofreading the entire book of 200 pages or more in two to three days, as textbooks need to be sent for publishing and distribution in March,” the source added.

The NCERT had, in December last year, conveyed to the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) during its governing body meeting, that it was “highly unlikely” that textbooks of all classes would be released for the 2024-25 academic year. They have stated that textbooks for Classes 6, 9, and 11 could possibly be developed, followed by those for Classes 7, 10, and 12 in time for 2025-26.

“Only Class 3 and 6 will likely receive new textbooks in 2024-25. We have not yet received textbook drafts for Class 9 or 11,” the MoE source said. “Also it is important that new textbooks for senior classes are not released in haste, and that adequate time is taken to research and modify material.”

The first generation of NCERT textbooks was published in the 1990s. The second generation, between 2002 and 2004, under the then NDA government, headed by the then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, was thought to follow a Hindu nationalistic core. Muslim rulers were referred to as “invaders”, and the medieval era of Islamic rulers was described as casting a “dark shadow” over earlier Hindu-led empires. After a controversy on the ‘saffronisation’ of textbooks and a change of government in 2004, a third generation of textbooks was developed between 2006 and 2008 by the ruling Congress-led coalition government.

When the NDA government came to power in 2014, the first round of changes were proposed in a ‘review’, and led to introduction of references to schemes introduced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, among other additions. The second round of revisions, in 2018, occurred to “reduce syllabus burden” on students. In a third round of deletions during COVID-19, the NCERT removed all references to the 2002 Gujarat riots, culled chapters related to Mughal history, and reduced chapters on social movements, courting outrage from historians.

After three rounds of changes, it remains to be seen how the new content in fresh textbooks will be shaped, especially from the point of view of history, political science, and sociology.

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