History repeated as students get error-filled geography textbooks

  • Puja Pednekar, Hindustan Times, Mumbai
  • Updated: Apr 22, 2016 00:42 IST

More than 55 glaring factual errors such as Bikaner is the largest wool market in the world and that Chilika is the largest saline lake in the country have been spotted in the latest edition of the Class 10 geography textbook published by the Maharashtra State Board of Secondary and Higher Secondary Education (MSBSHSE).

Even though geography teachers had pointed out that the earlier edition of the textbook contained several incorrect facts and inaccurate maps, the board has made more mistakes, and also repeated few of the same mistakes in the latest edition of the books that hit the markets recently.

In addition to the old errors, the book also contains numerous contradicting facts, such a highlighted box on page 30 states that Bikaner is the biggest market of wool in Asia. Another paragraph on the same page states that it is the biggest wool market in the world. “There are two contrasting facts on the same page, this will end up confusing students,” said Ravi D, a former school teacher from Bhandup. “The correct answer is that it is the biggest wool market in Asia and not the world.”

Similarly, a pie-diagram on page 90 on the distribution of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) shows that it is highest in the tertiary sector, while the text underneath the diagram states that primary sector is the highest. “The textbook does not seem to have been proof read at all, it has created confusion among students and teachers,” added Ravi. “What was the use of sending our feedback to the board?”

Last year, on April 15 and 22, HT had reported that experts had raised objections to the textbook as Pakistan-occupied Jammu and Kashmir was marked out separately in a map on population distribution and many other errors were spotted in the textbook.

More than 17 lakh students will use this textbook for exams in the coming academic year, 2016-17. Academicians have called for the text book to be withdrawn completely. “Besides the factual errors, the content is also presented in a very convoluted manner, the board needs to redesign the textbooks completely,” said Vidyadhar Amrite, retired professor of Sathaye College, Vile Parle and a member of the Mumbai Geography Teachers Association.

Board officials said that teachers should bring the mistakes to their notice. “This edition has been printed after taking into consideration the feedback of teachers last year,” said Gangadhar Mhamane, chairperson of the board. “But if they find any mistakes in the new edition, they can report it to us and we will correct it.”

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