WHO claims smallpox eradicated, NCERT book shows otherwise

  • Nikhil Sharma, Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
  • Updated: Aug 19, 2015 10:33 IST

The World Health Organisation (WHO) might have declared that the smallpox has been eradicated on a global scale, but the Class 8 science book of the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) claims that the deadly disease still exists in a few parts of the world.

“Smallpox was officially declared eradicated in 1980 and is the first disease to have been fought on a global scale. This extraordinary achievement was accomplished through the collaboration of countries around the world”, reads the information available on WHO’s website.

However, a paragraph dedicated to the disease on page 21 of NCERT’s Class 8 science book states that the disease has only been eradicated “from most parts of the globe”.

The matte came to light when the marks of a Class 8 student of a private school were deducted in a class test. The student had supported the WHO backed claim over smallpox’s eradication which stood in contrast to the information given in the course book.

Requesting anonymity, the father of the student said that although the CBSE had instructed the schools to only teach NCERT books, the students cannot completely depend on these books because of the errors in them.

A local biology academician, Arvind Goyal said “Eradication of smallpox on the global scale was a milestone.

On May 8, 1980, the WHO had declared that the global eradication of smallpox had been achieved. Such gross errors in NCERT textbooks shake the faith of the entire nation in these books.”

Goyal added that since a majority of students relied on NCERT books to gather information, an error in them meant that the students end up grasping wrong information.

“Learning wrong facts in the formative years will have a negative impact on the academic career of students in the long run. The NCERT must make the books error- free,” he said.

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