For four years, no one in Tami Nadu seemed to notice that Class 11 textbooks taught students that DMK patriarch M Karunanidhi was the chief minister, long after people ejected him from that position in the 2011 elections.
It was only after a teacher in a school in Coimbatore district detected the mistake that the education department hurriedly asked all state-run schools to withdraw the economics and history textbooks prepared by the Tamil Nadu Textbook and Educational Services Corporation four years ago.
AIADMK chief J Jayalalithaa romped to power in the May 2011 polls. Though she had to quit last year after being convicted in a graft case, she recently returned to the top post after the Karnataka high court acquitted her.
The incorrect piece of information that Karunanidhi is the chief minister of Tamil Nadu was contained in the preface of the two textbooks. They also mention that Thangam Thennarasu is the state’s education minister though he held the post only till 2011.
Apparently, the preface was written before polls were held in Tamil Nadu, when Karunanidhi was still the chief minister. And the textbooks have been distributed in schools since 2011.
“No one seems to have noticed this outdated information in the preface till now,” an official of the education department said on condition of anonymity.
The oversight would probably have continued if the headmaster in Coimbatore had not spotted the error while textbooks were being distributed on Monday and raised an objection. By Tuesday evening, the education department ordered the withdrawal of some 250,000 copies of the textbooks.
At first, the mistake was spotted in only in the economics textbook. A routine check was conducted to see if any other textbook contained a similar mistake. It was then officials found that the history textbook for Class 11 too contained a similar preface.
Some 70,000 history textbooks are to be printed afresh because of the problem.
The economics and history textbooks for Class 11 have also been removed from the website of the state government’s education department. It lists all the textbooks that are available in PDF format.
However, the DMK has criticised the AIADMK government’s action as proof of its “cheap mentality”.