The decision taken by the Union ministry of human resource development to use only National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) textbooks in all CBSE affiliated schools has evoked mixed reactions from parents in Gurgaon. While some parents appreciated the decision saying it would save them the cost of expensive reference books, others said NCERT books do not cover topics in depth.
The decision was taken at a review meeting chaired by Union HRD minister Prakash Javadekar.
Parents said sticking to NCERT will help in streamlining the syllabus, learning objectives and preparation methodology for board exams. They said reference books that cost 300% to 600% higher than NCERT books should be optional and not mandatory for schools.
“NCERT books are concise but I found science and math books better prepared as compared to social sciences. One drawback of NCERT books is the less number of practice questions and they are not so illustrative as other reference books. My suggestion would be to restrict exam papers to NCERT and consider reference books for better understanding as they are more illustrative,” Sameera Satija of Sector 14 said.
“I am happy with the step as schools will not charge unnecessarily for books now,” Kusum Yadav, a parent, said.
Parents, however, said the downside of the decision is that NCERT books only give an introduction to a topic. It has less number of practical questions and reference material is minimal.
“There is not enough study material covered in NCERT books. Children need to have a broad knowledge base and with NCERT alone, it would be a challenge,” Ritu Gupta, a parent, said.
Another parent, Saket Sinha, said NCERT books are always in short supply. “This decision can lead to chaos as it is difficult to distribute books in such large number,” Sinha said.
Sunil Kumar Pachar, another parent, said, “It is a positive move, provided it is enforced strictly. In the first place, it will ensure that all CBSE schools are adhering to the same content and same methodology. That will also lead to fair assessment and CGPA ranking of all students. It will also ensure that uniform online content is available. In the current situation, many private schools discard NCERT books stating the reason that they lack rigour and depth.”
Parents, however. feel that the move will ensure a level playing field among schools.
“Private books have much more content than required. If the school covers all of it, that will overburden students. With no standard curriculum across schools, every school choose their private publisher so that they can extract maximum money from parents. Children don’t get the same level of education or knowledge while studying different books under the same syllabus. Making NCERT books mandatory will standardise everything,” Amit Ghai of Sector 15 said.