Published: Friday, May 17, 2013

Maharashtra text book leaves Arunachal Pradesh out of India

China appears to have found an unlikely ally in the Maharashtra State Board of Secondary and Higher Secondary Education. The north-eastern state of Arunachal Pradesh, which China has repeatedly tried to claim as it own, is missing from the map of India in the state education board’s geography textbook for Class X students. By implication, the state is part of China since it is situated along the India-China border.
The board’s blunder-published and printed in some 17 lakh copies-comes at a time when an escalation in tension along the border has put relations between India and China on a knife’s edge.
It also tops a mountain of mistakes that have come to light in the board’s history textbook for Class X (which TOI wrote about with numerous examples in its May 15 edition).
Among those mistakes are wrong dates given for several historic events, and insufficient coverage of important events-World War II was limited to a single paragraph. The history text book is also riddled with grammatical errors.
While state board chairman Sarjerao Jadhav was unavailable for comment, his office contacted TOI on Tuesday evening seeking a list of the errors found in the textbooks.
On paper at least, the text books have gone through a foolproof and stringent process before being published. They were compiled by a committee of academicians who had a year to revise the texts and bring them on a par with those of central education boards such as CBSE and ICSE, and the international IB. The research committee had subject experts including teachers from various institutions in the state as well as college professors who have majored in the particular subject. The texts were then proof-read six times before being sent for printing.
The state education minister expressed dismay at the irresponsibility of the board of studies, an autonomous body under the education department which oversees the compilation of the textbooks. “This is a serious error and following the reports in TOI, I called for a meeting of the research committee members and state board officials on Wednesday. The state board chairman will submit a report on all these blunders by tomorrow morning and we will decide on further course of action,” said Rajendra Darda. “We need to ascertain who the people responsible for this blunder are in the first place.”
According to senior education officials, re-printing of the books will be impossible before schools reopen in June.
“The state will now have to send a corrigendum to all schools across the state, highlighting the problems in the texts and giving them the correct text. Teachers should be made aware of the mistakes in advance so that students don’t follow the wrong information,” said Basanti Roy, a former secretary with the Mumbai divisional board. She added that the state should also ensure that the committee concerned is dismissed immediately. “The state should take cognisance of this matter in order to create accountability for other subject committees in the future. This kind of sloppy work should not be tolerated.”