Textbooks-dominated classrooms

“The present day classroom practices are, in almost all schools of the country, totally dominated by textbooks. All premises of flexibility of the curriculum and syllabus and freedom of the teacher are completely forgotten by the time an educational plan reaches the classroom. The teacher is seen as either incompetent or unwilling or both, the school is seen devoid of all learning material, and the environment is seen as of no use in the child’s learning. The textbook emerges as the single solution to all these problems. It is sought to collect all the knowledge that the child is supposed to acquire at a given stage or class and is planned so that the child never needs to look beyond. Thus, ‘teaching the textbook’ becomes the whole of education.

As a result of this undue importance given to the textbook, it has acquired an aura of supremacy and a standard format. It has to be completed from cover to cover in a strict sequence, has developed a language of its own that is difficult to comprehend, and is laden with dense concepts……It has become a symbol of authority difficult to ignore or disobey.”

Extract from: NCF Position Paper Volume II

On Curriculum, Syllabus and Textbooks

Why

* are Indian schools, as organisations unable to distinguish between curriculum and textbooks?

* are the monitoring bodies so incompetent that they are unable to ensure compliance with curriculum guidelines, especially in the primary years?

* are the parents so badly informed of the best teaching-learning practices that they accept the third rate education imparted by many of our schools?

* is the publishing lobby so influential that it has the last say in what our children are taught? Besides the vested profit motive, what makes them competent or qualified to do so?