‘Nature’ magazine criticizes NCERT for dropping core science topics from school textbooks


The front-ranking international science journal—the ‘Nature’, in one of its editorials, has vehemently criticized dropping of core science topics like ‘Theory of Evolution’, ‘Periodic Table’ and ‘Electromagnetism’ from the school textbooks of India, in the excuse of reducing the load of syllabus. The ‘Nature’ has correctly commented: ‘‘The National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT), the government-funded but operationally autonomous body tasked with producing India’s textbooks, has not discussed the changes—which will affect more than 38 million children—with parents, teachers or researchers.’’ The editorial found that though NCERT is an autonomous body, it is governed by the ruling BJP and its aide RSS. ‘‘Researchers who study India’s education policy have told Nature that organizations that are critical of science are advocating for or influencing these changes to textbooks. They point to one organization in particular: the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, which has close ties to the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party.’’ The National Education Policy – 2020 demanded ‘‘a rootedness and pride in India, and its rich, diverse, ancient and modern culture and knowledge systems and traditions’’, it mentioned. But this will be achieved in the expense of some basic scientific theories of modern science! The ‘Nature’-editorial has further remarked, ‘‘Learning core scientific concepts, practising problem-solving and delving deep into the history of science—both local and global—needn’t be done in isolation. The development of a scientific temperament and pride in heritage can go hand in hand.’’ The editorial emphasized, ‘‘NCERT, …as an autonomous body, it must be free to make its own decisions, and should always do so on the basis of the best available evidence.’’ With such caustic remarks in the ‘Nature’, authorities framing education policy in India have been considerably discredited before the world scientific community.
The National Education Policy 2020 (NEP-2020) criticized by almost all educationists, scientists, historians, guardians and students, has advocated jettisoning many relevant chapters of basic science and instead stressed on including so-called Indian Knowledge System (IKS) which is nothing but a bunch of unscientific topics wherein descriptions in myths and epics have been presumed to be evidence of scientific developments in ancient Indian land. It is true that the civilisation which developed in Indian subcontinent (though its name was not India then) were among the early developed civilisations of the world. There cannot be any objection in cultivating the history of the development of knowledge of that period. But that does not mean that citing references from mentions in myths and epics like the Ramayana or the Mahabharata, one would make weird claim of everything modern science has discovered were already known to sages and scientists of Indian land of dim past. This very assumption is unscientific because the material condition necessary for evolution of modern scientific thoughts was absent in ancient Indian land. Modern science is based on experimentally verified truths. Darwin’s ‘Theory of Evolution’ was not his subjective idea. From fossils to missing links, from embryonic study to vestigial organs—all provide confirmatory evidence in support of Darwin’s theory. Likewise, Periodic Table discovered by Dmitri Mendeleev, in 1869, is a tabular array of the chemical elements organized by atomic number (number of protons in the nucleus), from the element with the lowest atomic number, Hydrogen, to the element with the highest atomic number and exhibited a ‘‘periodicity of properties’’. This table is fulcrum of modern chemistry. Similarly, Faraday’s Law on Electromagnetic Induction, ‘Euclid’s Division Lemma’ and ‘Vector Algebra’ and ‘The Reproductive System’ have been removed from Physics, Mathematics and Biology. from Biology courses respectively. One wonders sans these fundamental concepts, what would the students learn about science?
Before Darwin, all scriptures held that living beings were creations of a supernatural entity. But the ‘Theory of Evolution’ established beyond doubt with scientific evidence that all living creatures, whether plants, animals, fungus, protists, or Monera, had evolved through a natural process. The ‘Theory of Evolution’ denounced the ‘Theory of Creationism’ [creationism, the belief that the universe and the various forms of life were created by God out of nothing (ex nihilo)].
Darwin’s theory affirmed that ‘decent of man’ is nothing supernatural but occurred following a scientific process of evolution. It shook the seats of all priests and, clergies and religious preachers, then working in league with feudal orthodoxy to intoxicate people with religious sermons thereby keeping them subjugated to the repressive monarchical system. Hence, they had lambasted Darwin with every possible filthy words. But then science triumphed over blind faith and religious inebriation and doors opened towards social advancement driven by modern science whose philosophical essence was ensconced in the revolutionary theory of Dialectical Materialism propounded by great Marx with the help of great Engels. The torchbearers of bourgeois humanism in the days of advent of capitalism as a progressive force had to fight against the religious doctrines to free people from feudal bondage and the thought of being mere projection of a super natural entity and hence, they encouraged cult of science. But today, capitalism is on its death throes and somehow holding on to its decadent moribund life by pursuing fascist autocratic policies in every sphere. Hence the ruling capitalist class, out of its fear-complex of anti-capitalist revolution, wants people to be bereft of rational thought process and instead remain confined to superstitious beliefs, religious backwardness, and bigotry. In that event, quest for truth would not germinate in people and they would be lost in the mystic alley of blind faith. Hence secular scientific democratic education is what the rulers want to abolish.
NCERT authorities claim that deletion of these topics would not affect a student’s overall studies in Mathematics and Science. Surely, such a statement smacks of utter ignorance, either unknowingly or intentionally—the second assumption being the correct one. Why? Because they are on the pay-roll of the ruling dispensation and hence nothing but talking parrots of their masters. The ‘Nature’ analyzed that the Indian Constitution through its amendment crafted the words ‘‘It shall be the duty of every citizen of India, …To develop scientific temper, humanism, and the spirit of inquiry and reform…. But those attributes now seem to be less valued, at least by those involved in setting the country’s education policies.’’ Naturally, protests spurred from scientists, researchers, educationists, and scientific-minded people. Even some of the members of the textbook committee of NCERT have strongly opposed alterations in the political science textbooks. Two of them have resigned. 33 other members wrote letters to the NCERT Director to drop their names from the political science textbooks as the recent changes ‘jeopardized creative collective effort’. This protest is the silver-line in apparent pervading darkness. Let science triumph over the sinister design of the arch enemies of the people who want to retrograde the mental process and dehumanize people in every respect.

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