Punjab Government's Committee Suggests Replacing Class 12 History Book
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Chandigarh, June 9: A six-member oversight committee, set up to examine the recommendations of a 2014 panel that reviewed the Punjab School Education Board's history syllabus for classes 11 and 12, has suggested "replacing" the Class 12 history book in the next session.

The committee has in its preliminary findings "rejected" the Class 12 history book of the state education board after spotting mistakes in it and has suggested using "the old history book" in this session, a committee member said. The committee has held two meetings. The next meeting will be convened on June 21 and it's where the "mistakes" found in the Class 12 history book will be placed before the board, he said.

Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh had last month announced the constitution of the six-member oversight committee to examine the recommendations of the 2014 panel that reviewed the history syllabus and oversee all history books in the future. The move had come after the Shiromani Akali Dal had alleged that a major portion of Sikh and Punjab history had been removed from the Class 12 curriculum.

The Punjab School Education Board and the Congress government had earlier said that the curriculum was only "re-aligned" to match the NCERT syllabus.

The committee headed by eminent historian Prof Kirpal Singh also includes former vice chancellor of Guru Nanak Dev University Prof J S Grewal, former pro-vice chancellor of GNDU Prof. Prithipal Singh Kapur, emeritus Prof. of History at Panjab University Indu Banga, and two eminent historians nominated by the Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee.

Meanwhile, the SAD today thanked the oversight committee "for undoing the wrong done to Punjab and its Sikh history and culture by "rejecting" the new history book. In a statement issued here, former education minister Dr Daljit Singh Cheema said, "Our stand has been vindicated by the committee formed by the Congress government. We have all along maintained that the deletion of Sikh history in the Class 12 history book smacked of a conspiracy to destroy the roots of our religious and cultural legacy."

"The committee's decision to allow the old book to continue will ensure our present and future generations will not be denied study of Sikh Gurus at an impressionable and defining period of their growth as individuals," Cheema said. He said the committee exposed the top officials of the Education department "who had not only indulged in grave misconduct but had also defended their stand by giving false statements".

The SAD leader also condemned the Congress for defending the new history book and "mouthing lies that the 23 chapters on the Sikh Gurus had not been deleted but had been bifurcated into two -- in the classes 10 and 12 history books".

"Now all these lies have been exposed. The Congress government should learn a lesson from this self goal and it should avoid taking false stands in the future," he said.

The committee was mandated to consider and report on the recommendations of the expert group constituted by the PSEB in 2014 to review the changes made in the new history syllabus for classes 11 and 12 subsequent to the recommendations of the expert group and to suggest corrections, if any.

It was asked to examine the contents of the text books for classes 11 and 12 and to suggest corrections for factual and other errors, if any, and to align the history syllabus with that prescribed by the NCERT.

The committee was also directed to oversee the syllabus and contents of the history textbooks for all classes in the Punjab School Education Board and to ensure that there are no factual discrepancies.