Schools affiliated to the Central Board of Secondary Education will soon be directed to put online a list of books they prescribe to their students, according to sources in India’s largest education board who say the move is aimed at bringing transparency and allowing people to flag objectionable textbook.
The decision, which will be intimated to schools in a circular soon, comes after a book prescribed by a Delhi school asked fourth graders to suffocate a cat to understand the importance of breathing.
The board is also considering asking the school principal and the manager to certify that they have read the contents of the books prescribed, the sources said.
“We want to ensure that schools take responsibility of the content being taught in their schools. There has to be greater transparency. So if they upload the details of the books on their website, parents and anyone else will be able to check in case they find anything objectionable,” the CBSE official said.
Under affiliation bye laws, schools and publishers are liable for any action and have to take responsibility of the content prescribed by them. Schools also must disclose the books they publish, though, sources said, most don’t do so.
Schools that do not have a website can put the list up on their notice boards.
Schools are required to follow a syllabus based on the curriculum prescribed by the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) for the middle classes or exercise extreme care while selecting books of private publishers. The Union government is trying to ensure more NCERT books are available for India’s schools, although it is not mandatory for institutions to use those books alone.