In a letter to all states, the National Commission for the Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR), an autonomous body of the central government that oversees rights of all children, asked that only the curriculum and textbooks recommended by the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) and the State Council of Educational Research and Training (SCERT) be followed in classrooms.
Under the Education Ministry, the autonomous body, NCERT provides the union government with recommendations on school education and assessment. Each state has a SCERT, created along the lines of NCERT, that serves as the top authority in the state’s academic concerns.
The NCPCR’s letter is important because it was released after the new NCERT textbooks with revised material were published. As part of the rationalisation process, NCERT has eliminated from school textbooks information on the Mughals, Mahatma Gandhi, his assassin Nathuram Godse, references to Hindu extremists, and the 2002 Gujarat riots. Political parties and academicians have both expressed their strong opinions in response to these changes.
The NCPCR reminded the states in a letter dated April 13 and addressed to all state education secretaries that, in accordance with section 29(1) of the Right to Education (RTE) Act, 2009, schools should only follow the curriculum and evaluation procedures established by the notified academic authority, in this case NCERT and SCERT.
According to Section 29(1) of the RTE Act and the National Curriculum Framework (NCF) 2005, NCERT and SCERT are the nodal bodies for textbook writing. Hence, any State or Central Board that uses an elementary school curriculum, syllabus, textbooks, or evaluation process other than those advised by NCERT or the appropriate SCERT is in violation of the RTE Act of 2009.
The Commission also used CBSE as an example of how it adhered to the RTE Act’s provisions. In September 2017, the Commission ordered CBSE to either obtain NCERT’s approval and validation of its new uniform system of evaluation or immediately revoke it due to a violation of the RTE Act’s guidelines. As a result, the CBSE revoked the system for classes VI to VIII by notification on January 22, 2018. As a result, the NCERT-recommended curriculum will be used by all schools associated with the CBSE, including private schools and institutions run by the Central Government like KVs and NVs.