28 October 2012

Textbook turbulence

As part of my work as Curriculum Specialist, I had to look at the contents of a few textbooks published by the NCERT yesterday.

As many education professionals would know, NCERT textbook contents need to raise well above their current quality levels including in their use of English language.  For example, Chapter 8 of NCERT's Political Science textbook for Class 8 explains about the need to provide basic amenities to  all people, using case studies. This chapter is titled `Public Facilities'.

Screenshot of Chapter 9 of NCERT Political Science textbook for Class 8
I think that `Basic Amenities' or `Common Amenities' would be a better term for the title of this chapter.  I think that any textbook writing should involve the most appropriate use of language.

Chapter 8 entitled `DEVOTIONAL PATH TO THE DEVINE' in the History textbook prescribed for Standard 7 mentions about Adwaitaa and Visishtaadwaitaa schools of Hinduism but doesn't, about  the Dwaitaa school.

Excerpt from NCERT History textbook for Std 7

However, when we consider the quality of photographs and diagrams in general, NCERT textbooks seem to be pupil friendly. I wish that the same goes with textual contents as well.

(When I worked in the editorial division of Macmillan India Limited a few years back, there was a very good textbook series entitled `Exploring Science', meant for Primary classes. The only problem with the books was that they were expensive. When I was asked to suggest cost cutting measures, one of the ideas which I gave was to use a lower quality paper similar to the one used in NCERT textbooks and bring the cost down. But my suggestion was ignored by the then GM Publishing at the Country Office in Bangalore, as it was `not practical'. Hope that the lady knows about NCERT text books and how they are very affordable). 

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About Me

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Chennai, Tamilnadu, India
I am a retired K-12 Education Management Professional. I have worked at different levels in K-12 school systems, textbook publishing, elearning and Education NGOs. I have held memberships in The Association for Science Education (UK), American Association of Physics Teachers and The Malaysian Institute of Physics. I hold a 1st class B Sc Degree in Physics followed by B Ed [English and Physical Science] and M A [Childcare and Education] degrees. My published works include 59 articles in teacher development magazines in India and the US and a book entitled `Creative Classrooms and Child Friendly Schools' (listed in Amazon). This book is almost an anecdotal account of my professional experience in six countries (including Cambodia where I worked as Technical Adviser to the Ministry of Education, Youth And Sports). I served as mentor in the Certificate of Teaching Mastery Program offered by Teachers Without Borders.