Review of social studies text books

Project Brief: Review of social studies text books (Gujarat state)
Project Type: Working with the Government (description)
Primary Focus: other (description)

Secondary Focus: other

Area: Rural
Supporting Chapter Contact: Seattle
Status: Proposal - Closed
Project Steward: Keshav Ramarao
Project Partner(s): Srijan Chakraborty
Other Contacts:
Project Address: , ,,,
Stewarding Chapter: Seattle
Dec 2004SeattleUSD 0

Total = $0

This is an effort at documenting our systematic review of the Gujarat state textbooks for social studies. Here we are presenting our comments on the content we found during our review. We will go over how we got started, what our guidelines were and most importantly what we found.

We started this exercise of reviewing text books after we heard complaints about the content of the social studies text books in Gujarat. Media reports talked about the poor state and also the communal overtones of the books. So we decided to check it out for ourselves. Asha has been very closely involved with education for over a decade. But to our knowledge a systematic assessment of the quality of teaching material has never been made. We feel that such an assessment is necessary to really understand what the children are subjected to in schools. Soon after starting we realized that we were entering a problematic territory. We heard a lot about “communalization” of Gujarat text books. In addition to aspects of this, we found a whole lot of other issues in these books.

Our guidelines
Before I go into details of what we found, let me give you the set of guidelines that we were following when looking into the text books. We selected the following questions as our guidelines:

  • Does the textbook provide a comprehensive view of history?
  • Does the textbook present history in a clear and coherent manner?
  • Does history follow a timeline?
  • Does the textbook promote different types of biases and stereotyping?
  • Are there any factual inaccuracies?
  • Does the textbook promote analytical thinking on part of the student?
  • Are multiple viewpoints presented?
  • Does the textbook provide background for pressing social problems in India?

What we found
We found all kinds of issues including the following - widespread mix-up of history with mythology, promotion of various types of biases and stereotyping, incoherent and incomprehensive presentation of history, poor presentation, factual inaccuracies and often lack of any attempt towards promoting critical thinking among children.

Overview (of 5th and 6th Standard)

Detailed Review of 5th Standard text book - Chapter by Chapter

Detailed Review of 6th Standard text book - Chapter by Chapter