In 1980, the world accomplished a historic feat, smallpox was completely eradicated. It was the first disease to be fought on a global scale. Unfortunately, Indian students in CBSE schools will never know of this massive achievement of human intelligence, because class 8 text books of the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) claim that the deadly disease is still prevalent in parts of the world.
According to the WHO website, smallpox was eradicated in 1980 and was the first disease to be a eradicated on a global scale. This was possible due to the collaboration of various countries around the world.
However, according to a paragraph dedicated to the disease in the NCERT science text book, the disease has only been eradicated “from most parts of the globe,” as quoted by the Hindustan Times .
This matter came to the forefront after a students’ marks were cut because he subscribed to the information provided by the WHO. His father, who preferred to stay anonymous said that even though CBSE informs all schools they must use NCERT text books, students cannot be expected to not seek other methods of gaining information, as the text books are not always accurate.
A local biology academician, Dr. Arvind Goyal, said, “Eradication of smallpox on the global scale was a milestone. On May 8, 1980, the WHO had declared that the global eradication of smallpox had been achieved. Such gross errors in NCERT textbooks shake the faith of the entire nation in these books.”
Since most students in India only have access to the books that are provided to them by their teachers and their schools, which are mostly compiled by NCERT, it is extremely important that these books do not have any mis-information.
” Learning wrong facts in the formative years will have a negative impact on the academic career of students in the long run. The NCERT must make the books error-free,” said Goyal.
This is not the first time errors have been detected in NCERT text books. In 2014, the Punjab and Haryana High Court informed NCERT that they must rectify all the errors present in their text books.
Goyal was involved in this case as well. He was the one who pointed out the numerous errors in the class XI and XII biology text books to the court. Upon his recommendations, NCERT rectified 33 errors. However, he continued to insist there were many more still present.
It is ludicrous that the government can continue to allow the NCERT to get away with such blatant errors, especially in the field of science, where there is little space for misinterpretation.