A experts' committee fully revised six of the 12 books-- mathematics, higher mathematics, biology, physics, chemistry and general Science
The National Curriculum and Textbook Board (NCTB) faced a hail of criticism last year for removing the literary work of progressive authors and poets from primary and secondary level textbooks, bowing to the demands of Hefazat-e-Islam, an umbrella Islamist organisation in Bangladesh.
After firm objections from notable academicians and people concerned, the Ministry of Education formed a committee to revise 12 textbooks for 9th and 10th grade students.
The committees fully revised six of the 12 books – mathematics, higher mathematics, biology, physics, chemistry and general science.
The textbook covers have been updated with better paper and is better printed, and the illustrations on the books have also been made more colourful, sharp and detailed.
Spelling and factual errors have also been corrected in the following books– Bangla literature, Introduction to Bangladesh and the world, history of Bangladesh and the civilization, economics, accounting and English for Today.
This correspondent has compared the previous book with the revised copies.
Comparing the mathematics and higher mathematics textbooks for 9th and 10th grade students, it was found that the revised copy has better explanations of complex mathematical formulas.
The textbook also has a section dedicated to noted mathematicians, with short biographies and their contributions to the field.
The biology textbook contains colourful and sharp images of tissues, organs and other related illustrations, accompanied by detailed explanations.
The chemistry textbook also contains detailed explanation of chemical reactions and related material.
The physics textbook has been also updated. In the introduction of the book, Muslim scientists’ contribution has been highlighted, and a chapter showcasing short biographies of notable scientists has also been included.
The general science textbook has undergone significant content update, as every chapter has been revised and redesigned for better understanding.
A committee led by Professor of Shahjalal University of Science and Technology (SUST), Muhammad Zafar Iqbal and Professor of Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET) Mohammad Kaikobad spearheaded the revision of these textbooks.
The committee is comprised of 12 other experts.
Speaking to the correspondent, a member of the committee, Dr Soumitra Chakrabarty said: “As the curriculum remains unchanged, we had to work on pre-existing topics. The biology textbook alone has been revised in over 1,000 areas.
“We made a serious effort to update obsolete information, and to correct the wrong ones. However, we still believe that there is room for improvement.”
Cartoonist Nasrin Sultana Mitu and Mehedi Haque did the illustrations for the books.
Addressing the matter, Mehedi said: “We did our best for these textbooks, because it was in the best interest of our country. We even consulted doctors so that our illustrations remain anatomically correct.”
Md Tanbin Islam, who was tasked with making fonts for the textbooks, stated: “A new font has been created for these textbooks. Old fonts were not used. The NCTB instructed us to keep the children’s book free of conjunctive Bangla characters, so, the font was made in accordance to the guidelines provided.”
The experts’ team also took special care to revise and update the other textbooks.
Shaymoli Nasrin Chowdhury was tasked with revising the Bangla literature textbook, English for Today was edited by academician Prof Manjurul Islam, Dhaka University Vice-Chancellor Prof Md Akhtaruzzaman was in-charge of editing the Introduction to Bangladesh and the World textbook.
Speaking on the issue, NCTB Chairman Prof Narayan Chandra Saha said: “We made a serious effort to correct the mistakes in the textbooks. We also edited controversial parts of the book.
“The Education Ministry had made a committee to make the 12 textbooks readable and error-free, we followed the committee’s instructions to the letter.”
This article was first published on Bangla Tribune