Bhagavad Gita, Manusmriti Included In Maharashtra Curriculum Draft; Draws Ire Of Educationists

Bhagavad Gita, Manusmriti Included In Maharashtra Curriculum Draft; Draws Ire Of Educationists

The exclusive mention of the Hindu religious scriptures in the document has drawn the ire of educationists and student activists, who termed it as a form of 'saffronisation' of education.

Musab QaziUpdated: Saturday, May 25, 2024, 11:47 AM IST
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Bhagavad Gita to be part of school syllabus for Classes 6 to 12 in Gujarat | File Photo

Mumbai: Religious texts such as Bhagavad Gita, Manache Shloka and even Manusmriti have found mention in the new draft State Curriculum Framework for School Education (SCF-SE) by the state education department.

The document, which seeks to overhaul the curricula of class 3 to class 12 in line with the National Education Policy (NEP), suggests that school students can be asked to memorise verses from Bhagavad Gita and Manache Shloka, a Marathi-language scripture by the 17th century Hindu saint Ramdas Swami, as part of a competition named 'Let's Preserve Ancient Heritage'. The illustrative activity forms one of the several examples of integrating the 'Indian Knowledge System (IKS)' in the school curricula.

Similarly, while talking about the importance of inculcating 'Values and Disposition' in the school syllabi, the draft SCF quotes verses from Manusmriti.

The state framework, which largely draws from the National Curriculum Framework for School Education (NCF-SE), has identified IKS and Values and Disposition are among the six cross-cutting themes for school syllabi - learning and caring about environment, inclusion, guidance and counselling and educational technology being the other ones.

Under IKS, SCF seeks to integrate everything from the 'ancient Indian heritage' to 'Indian educational ideology' to the contributions of Indians in various fields in school education. The document also includes Maharashtra-specific aspects such as the legacy of saints and knowledge about Adivasis (tribals) and their way of life. It has enlisted several educational activities, which seek to inform students about religious scriptures, ancient Indian personalities such as Aryabhatta and Charaka, yoga, Indian rishis (sages) as well as the various mathematical, scientific and astronomical discoveries made by Indians among other topics.

Saffronisation Of Education

However, the exclusive mention of the Hindu religious scriptures in the document has drawn the ire of educationists and student activists, who termed it as a form of 'saffronisation' of education.

An official from the State Council for Research and Training (SCERT), which has prepared the draft SCF, said, “We will have a re-look and revise it in the final draft.”

Former state director of education Vasant Kalapande suggests that the state should focus on providing an India-centric education, in place of IKS, which not only covers ancient knowledge but also includes the country's constitution and global trends. “We should know about the country and its past. In any case, this information used to be part of the textbooks as 'trivia'. The issue is that there's no continuity in the ancient and contemporary knowledge,” he said.

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