Monday, January 29, 2007

How to Educate Students

After the allegation of Shankarmurthy against Tipu Sultan as a Kannada-hater, I tried to gather news about the state of Indian textbooks as whole. Also, later I was involved in a brief research on worldwide textbooks and the ways of teaching.

The pathfinder article tries to show how BJP Govt was trying to manipulate the History Textbooks for their political gain. It went onto the extent of denying a genetically and historically accepted fact that Aryans came to India from outside. The Historian Romila Thapar pointed out correctly -
it wants to "project a unified, continuous Indian identity where Aryanism, encapsulated in the culture of the Vedas and the upper castes, is the major cultural expression of India."
For a little humourous touch, this article says that a Rajasthani textbook compares a housewife to a donkey and concludes -
"It has to toil all day and, like her, may even have to give up food and water. In fact, the donkey is a shade better, for while the housewife may sometimes complain and walk off to her parents' home, you'll never catch the donkey being disloyal to his master."
Such is the pathetic bias against women in Indian textbook.

The best of them all was not surprisingly a Gujarat Textbook, promoting Nazis and went onto include one includes a chapter on the "internal achievements of Nazism"!!! It rubbishes the Holocaust and projected Hitler as a true leader!!

As the international case study, the list of biased and hateful text books are almost endless. The Japanese textbooks often present downplayed or vague historical accounts on the parts where Japanese were guilty of mass-murder.

The Saudi textbooks came under scrutiny after most of the 9/11 conspirators were found to be from Saudi. This is a brief account of Saudi textbooks, having bias against non-Muslims and Jews in particular. The claim that the bias is due to Palestein conflict does not garner much support since the textbooks of Palestein does not contain anti-Semitic writings. In his blog, Mezba recounts the way of teaching as he found in Saudi.

Coming closer to home, I had already wrote about Pakistani textbooks. As SDPI wrote, the textbooks were biased on factual inaccuracies, religiousand ethnic prejudices, gender stereotypes, glorification of war and lack of direction towards peace. The most prominent lie was
After 1965 war India conspired with the Hindus of Bengal and succeeded in
spreading hate among the Bengalis about West Pakistan and finally attacked on
East Pakistan in December 71, thus causing the breakup of East and West
However, the things are changing due to moderate views of President Musharraf (or under US-pressure?) with new textbook policies are brought about.

In Europe, the issue is to forget the World Wars and unite against USA. A new Franco-German joint textbook at least tries to promote European culture and denounces USA. I don't see any reason for denouncing USA to promote their own values. The British-Argentine spat over Falklands continues to the pages of the textbooks as the latter accuses Britain over colonialising the island. An American organization also suggests changes in US-version of History books.

The ethnic spat is well demonstrated in Malaysian textbooks, which is accused of racial bias against Indians and Chinese people living in Malaysia. However, the things are changing in positive direction.

I hope that everyone knows the role of upbringing in today's world. A better upbringing can definitely lead to a better world. To shape the mind of the children, should we use these hate-materials or the books of peace - are to determine the future of the world.

Reference :
1) Return of Rightwing Textbook
2) Thou Shall Cross the Pig

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