The textbooks of primary and secondary schools for the new academic year have been printed with only minor corrections to misspelt words and inconsistencies, though many changes brought about to allegedly pacify Hefazat-e-Islam, in 2017, remained.
Bangla Tribune scrutinised the new textbooks before they were distributed on Monday, marking the nationwide Textbook Festival Day.
Hefazat had demanded the removal of certain write-ups by progressive authors and poets, and called for their replacement with others recommended by the radical Islamist group.
According to the Bangla Tribune research team, Amar Bangla Boi, the Bangla textbook for second graders, had just two illustrations on its 2nd and 10th pages edited.
The distorted lines of a poem titled “Adarsha Chhele (an ideal boy)” in the Bangla book for class III students, also called Amar Bangla Boi, have been corrected with the addition of four extra lines.
Moreover, there were some changes to the punctuation of the poem.
“Amader Bondhura,” meaning “our friends,” a story in the chapter called Chhobi O Kotha (images and tales), saw some changes as well.
The poem titled “Ghuri” by Abul Hossain did not have the repeated line “Bhari Je Kothhin Ghurir Chaal (so tough is the trick of flying a kite)” removed in the corrected versions as it should have been.
The term “kapor dhuchchhe (cleaning clothes)” has been replaced by the synonymous phrase “kapor kachchhe” on the 3rd line of the story “Steamerer city,” which refers to a city of steamers.
Apart from some small corrections made in the Bangla textbook for 4th graders, all the items in it remained unchanged compared to the textbook published a year ago.
Similar corrections were made to the Bangla textbook for class V, but the changes to four lines in the poem “Sangkalpa,” which drew criticism from educationists in 2017, have been published without any correction or revision.
When contacted, National Curriculum and Textbook Board (NTCB) member Mashiuzzaman said: “The poem has been published exactly how it was found in the 3rd volume of Nazrul Rachanabali (the works of Kazi Nazrul Islam), published by Bangla Academy after Abdul Quadir edited it”.
Though Ranchi Bhraman, a travel story authored by S Wazed Ali, and a piece of prose called “Laal Goruta (the red cow)” by Satyan Sen was removed from Charu Path, a fine arts book for sixth graders last year, they were restored in the latest publication.
The Bangla books for class VII and VIII have hardly undergone any changes, except for corrections to misspelt words.
Meanwhile, at least 10 stories and poems in Bangla Sahitya, the Bangla textbook for ninth and tenth graders, saw some changes in the last academic year, and these remained the same in the latest textbooks.
Earlier, an array of changes were made to textbooks in the wake of 29-point demands by Hefazat, attracting criticism from different quarters, particularly academicians, causing the Education Ministry to form two committees.
One of the committees was tasked with assessing the contents of all the textbooks published for students up to class VIII in 2017.
Demands to restore writings that were either changed or withdrawn following Hefazat's objection remained ignored.
Speaking on the matter, former Dhaka University professor AN Rasheda said: “The removed contents from the textbooks will not be brought back, because the ideology of Hefazat and those who accepted its demands is the same. They did not make the changes fearing a renewed demonstration by Hefazat.”
“Our education policy was not adopted in the line with the 1972 constitution. The constitution of 1972 was reinstated in the House in 2011, a year after the national education policy was adopted. When the education policy was adopted, the government was operating in line with the older constitution, leading to the debacle with textbooks and the entire education system today,” she added.
NCTB Chairman Prof Narayan Chandra Saha said: “All the mistakes in the textbooks have been corrected. In addition, the contents in question were also corrected.”
Nearly 44 million children across the country received books free of cost for their new classes at schools and madrasas on Monday.
Education Ministry officials said 354,290,162 textbooks were distributed among 43,706,895 students of pre-primary, primary, Ebtedayee, secondary, Dakhil and vocational education for the 2018 academic year.
This article was first published on Bangla Tribune