All India Peoples Science Network (AIPSN), a network of over 40 science organisation, has raised concerns over the release of Chandrayaan-3 special modules, which have been published by the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT). Terming the modules as being 'not upto the usual standards of NCERT', AIPSN stated that they are 'pseudoscientific', 'full of errors', and 'misleading'.
"On October 17, 2023, NCERT released a number of special modules in English and Hindi on Chandrayaan 3, for circulating to millions of school students as supplementary reading material. However, due to severe criticism as seen in press and media coverage the NCERT initially took down the webpage on the modules but after the government defended the modules in a Press Information Bureau release on October 25 saying “mythology and philosophy put forward ideas and ideas lead to innovation and research” the website came back online! These modules were targeted towards different learning stages as described in National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 (foundational, primary, middle school, secondary and higher secondary)," said the statement by AIPSN.
In order to celebrate the moon landing of Chandrayaan-3, which touched down near the lunar south pole making India the fourth and the first country to successfully land on the moon and at the Southern part respectively, NCERT officially released 10 special modules on October 17. The body also launched a special Apna Chandrayaan portal to mark the achievement.
References to Nazi scientist, pseudoscience lands NCERT in hot water
The modules became a subject of scrutiny as it was accused of mixing science with mythology, while also attributing the success of Chandrayaan-3 to PM Narendra Modi. The module also referenced a Nazi Scientist.
"There is a clear danger that this wrong information will be transmitted to students as-is and cause real harm. Or worse: the content is so badly written that students will be put off this exciting field. Members of the scientific community and all rationally minded citizens should summarily reject this shoddily prepared material. The way NCERT reacted after the criticism to withdraw them and then put them back on after the government defended the mythology must not happen again. The demand is that NCERT recalls all these modules at once permanently," the statement added. To be more clear about their apprehensions to the inclusion of such errors in the modules, AIPSN also made a list of errors and pseudoscientific claims that are present throughout the syllabus.