Monday, October 29, 2001, Chandigarh, India


N C R   S T O R I E S


Doctoring of history worries teachers
Smriti Kak

New Delhi, October 28
The history, which our parents read, came down to us, and we have had reasons to believe that it would pass on to the next generation. But, the National Council of Education, Research and Training (NCERT) belied the belief by rewriting the History texts. Whether this change in the syllabi will do our future generations any good, only time will, say most of the history teachers in the Capital’s schools contacted by The Tribune.

The NCERT, on its part, is maintaining that the new syllabi are made keeping in mind the relevance of lessons to everyday life. They also maintain that there are no political undertones in the changes being made.

However, the teachers, who have some idea about the changes that are made, are a trifle apprehensive. “I hope the policy-makers have no intention of fossilising History. The class 10 textbook, for example, is too extensive and intensive. They have covered a whole lot of portions and have researched and included all the information. The new syllabi too will make the subject too cumbersome for the students. Social studies should me made interesting for the students. They must not tamper with History”, said the vice-principal of Cambridge School and a senior History teacher, Mrs Dilruba Kalsi.

Ms Sharbani Mitra of Amity International School, Saket, shares her concern: “The whole thing is moving in a really hush-hush manner. The teachers are gathering information from the newspapers. No circulars are being sent, no discussions made. People with political preferences are being made to write the books.

“Like Islam, which is being made synonymous with terrorism today, which is religious tampering, History is also being tampered with, which like the former is incorrect. Another cause for concern is that within the chapters, there will be a mishmash of subjects. The chapter on History will also have inputs on Geography and Civics. This means schools will now have to recruit staff that has expertise on all the subjects,” she says.

The changes are also being seen as a move to saffronise education by some. “The Bharatiya Janata Party wants to give more importance to Hinduism and relegate Islam and Sikhism to the background. The reason why they are giving more importance to Shivaji and toning down portions related to Akbar speaks about their preferences. These things are very annoying, we want to teach what we have learnt,” says Dr Shalini, a History teacher at Guru Harkrishan Public School.

While the NCERT is claming to rectify certain irregularities in the old syllabi, the former head of the NCERT, Mr Arjun Dev, told The Tribune, “These people are history illiterates. They do not even know what they are talking about. They have gone on record saying that the southern states have been ignored; the truth is that it is a part of the medieval history taught in class seven. This implies that these people have not even read the texts”.

The NCERT in the past had taken pride in the fact that the textbook writers were scientists, political scientists and historians of repute. However, things are turning sour with reports claiming that teachers from departments other than civics are being roped in to write on the subject.

“A teacher from the geography department is writing a book on civics because the professors from the political science department are too tied up. One is overburdened with work and the other is working in the Education Evaluation Branch,” points out Mr Dev.

Intellectuals are worried that the first batch of students who are taught the new syllabi will be unaware of some major historical developments and facts. “Students will never know there was a World War, they will not study the causes of the disintegration of USSR, because these things have been left out,” Mr Dev says with remorse.


Play school grabs DDA green belt
Smriti Kak

A play-school at Preet Vihar in East Delhi has obtained bad remarks in its report card issued by the DDA. The school is alleged to have grabbed nearly 1000 square feet of the DDA’s green belt and designed it a playground for its students.

The so-called playground, however, is fraught with dangers, high voltage electricity cables run through the land which makes the situation vulnerable and fatal one.

The DDA alleges further that, the school tear down the wall, which had been built by them to protect the green land. The schools also runs a mini zoo with over a dozen rabbits put in different cages, without the permission of the wild life department.

The former president of the resident welfare association, Mr Nath Gupta told The Tribune that he has already brought the irregularity to the notice of the MLA and the Councillor of the area, but that has not availed any results so far. The Chairman of the school was not available for comments.

Eco painting

The Tagore International School, DLF phase 3, Gurgaon, organised an inter-school painting competition to drive home the message for the need to have a clean and green environment. The topics for the competition were, “Save our Environment” and “The Land of Nehru’s Dream”. Participants from 15 schools in and around Delhi displayed amazing creativity and ideas to save the environment.

Debate competition

The fourth Dr. Mahbub ul Haq inter-school debate was organised by the United Nations Development Fund (UNDP) in collaboration with the Rajiv Gandhi foundation in the capital last week.

The debate took place in two phases. The in the preliminaries nearly 25 schools took part, out of which ten schools reached the finals. Delhi public School R.K. Puram walked away with the first prize and also the best speaker award. Winning the best speaker award Mohaimin Altaf, who spoke for the motion. St. Thomas won the second prize and the third prize went to Convent of Jesus and Mary school. Sundarmurty of St. Thomas was declared the best speaker against the motion. The special consolation prize went to Mt. Carmel.

President of the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation, Mrs. Sonia Gandhi gave away the prizes. UNDP’s Resident Representative and Coordinator Ms. Brenda McSweeney, who was present at the occasion applauded the initiative of the students and encouraged them to join their forces with the UNDP to help them in their endeavour to eradicate poverty.

Online admission

When Delhi Public School decided to go online with their admission forms, it was hailed as a boon for the diligent parents. This was seen by many as a time saver and also an energy saver. Things started going sour only when applicants who did not have the luxury of computers or the Internet at home, began to run helter-skelter in search of cyber-cafes.

Long queues of eager parents and grand parents in some cases were seen keying in desperately in order to down load the elusive forms. “Why can’t the admission procedures be more streamlined ? There should be online forms and also counter sale of forms. Let the parents decide what is easier for them”, said a parent. Net savvy or not our parents certainly need to appreciate a little bit of Silicon Valley norms.

Inter-school poster

Children at an inter-school poster competition at Vishwa Bharti Public School
Children at an inter-school poster competition at Vishwa Bharti Public School

Vishwa Bharti Public School, Noida organised an inter-school poster. Designing competition for students to realise the importance of “Human Rights”. Over 100 students from 11 schools from Ghaziabad and Noida too part. The participants gave a brilliant display of the ugly aspects of caste system and gender differences. In the junior category, the first prize went to Anupriya Goyal of Bal Bharti Public School, Ghaziabad, the second prize was won by Kunal Singh of Somerville, Noida and the third by Amita Dattar of DPS Noida. The consolation prize went to, Tapsi Aggarwal of Uttam Public School for Girls, Noida. In the senior category the first prize went to Abha Poonia of Somerville.

The second was won by Samarth Dhillion also from the same school, while the third went to Kanika Tawakley of Bal Bharti , Ghaziabad. The consolation prize was won by Yusra Naseem of Somerville.

Spiritual leader meets principals

Spiritual head of the Sadhu Vaswani Mission met and interacted with eminent educationists and Principals of NPSC and other schools on various facts of education in India.


Making of a model student

Mrs H SinghMankind owes the child the best it has to give. The sad reality is, while headway is being made in various other fields, problems relating to improvement in the Education system remain entrenched as ever. Despite some praiseworthy achievements, the aim of giving every child a better education remains a mammoth task.

Principal's role: A temple of learning, a model school should be a place that enriches the students' pursuit of academic excellence and all round development. Love, sympathy, reason and justice should govern a principal's actions. Encouragement from his or her should serve as a powerful motivation to work. Under the administrative ability of an ideal Principal the general atmosphere of the school should be that of a harmonious culture, good discipline and comradeship so that the school makes great progress in all spheres.

A teacher's influence: If a teacher cannot inspire a student, nobody can. Every action and every thought of a teacher leaves an everlasting impression. A teacher socialises a student. To sum up, for the student a teacher is a friend, a philosopher and a guide, all rolled into one.

Expectations from teacher and parents : There is no denying the fact that, there is need to improve the quality of education and to inculcate moral values. These appear to have declined in the last few years. Teachers and parents are required to rectify this damage and re-establish these values.

Family's role: "Spare the rod and spare the child", is long done away with. A child is an individual, and thus should be allowed to make his/ her choices by which his or her confidence could be increased.

Mrs H Singh, Principal,
Guru Harkrishan Public School,
Punjabi Bagh


Admitted on an empty purse

Come October- November, it is the testing time for the parents who seek admission for their children in Nursery or K.G. classes in Public schools.

One wonders whether the tiny-tots have any idea, how large the word apprehension is in their parents vocabulary once the time comes for them to appear for the school interview. Once the initial hassle of producing the admission forms is over, begins an endless series of getting birth certificates Xeroxed, getting the tiny brats photographed, selecting a picture sans tear-smears and getting two dozen copies made out of that and finally filling the form and submitting it.

Then one gets the date and the time for the interview duly printed on a slip. I pasted it on the inside of my wardrobe, to be duly reminded of the D-day. Day by day the printed slips increased in number. So, did my paranoia about the child's health. A much awaited harmless ice-cream treat by her over-busy father was a blasphemous act to me, lest she ends up with a bad throat.

A simple walk in the garden became an educational exercise as I endeavoured to teach her the various colours, shapes and names of all kinds of flowers. As a result the child ducked under the nearest available item of furniture as soon as I entered the room. Finally one day in connivance with her father she revolted against my authority, “another word from you mama.” She dishonestly declared, “I won't open my mouth for the interview”. My entire stance crumbled under the threat. Well, folks the D-day dawned bright and promising. I made my husband change hi clothes thrice. I prayed to all possible deities, I could remember and began preparing my child for the show.

“Well mama”, said she “if you buy me two chocolates, I'll tell them Papa's name. Your name and mine for a colouring book. I might tell them shapes and colours and for a new game I may even rattle off a poem”. Inwardly wincing, I somehow managed to paste a smile on my face.

Two hours later with a thumping heart and a near-empty purse we sat in along queue with equally anxious parents of confused children.

After what seemed like a fairly long wait our serial number was called, I shot a pleading look at my child and accompanied her inside.

Her impish face broke into a smile as she wished the authorities good morning. Confidently she answered all the questions and looked into my misty eyes.

As we finished with the ordeal and stepped out, I hugged her. Confident by now, looking back on the pleased faces of the authorities, I kissed her forehead and said, "congratulations, my pet, you have made it to the first steps of the ladder".

Sujata Sharma



Precolour collection launched
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 28
The Precolour collection, a collaboration of designer Ashish Soni and Sunsilk Pro Colour, was launched at a glittering function hosted by the Ambassador of France in India, Mr Bernard de Montferrand, on Saturday. Models Fleur Xavier, Rahul Dev, Dino Morea, Nina Manuel, Carol Gracias, Joey Mathews and Michelle showcased the Sunsilk Pro Colour range along with the Precolour collection. Models in black with Sunsilk Pro Colour hair provided a vibrant counterpoint to the elegant collection.

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