On December 19, 2022, the Centre informed the Lok Sabha that the National Council of Education Research and Training (NCERT) must include Shlokas from Shrimad Bhagavad Gita and knowledge from Vedas in textbooks in Sanskrit from classes 11th to 12th. Besides, references from Bhagavad Gita should be incorporated in NCERT textbooks of classes 6th to 7th.
Minister of State for Education Annapurna Devi, in a letter, stated that the government aimed to establish the Indian Knowledge System (IKS) Division in the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) in 2020. “To become the knowledge power in this century, we must understand our heritage and teach the world the ‘Indian way’ of doing things,” Minister of State for Education Annapurna Devi noted in the letter.
The Education Ministry decided to promote interdisciplinary and trans-disciplinary research on all facets of IKS, preserving and disseminating IKS knowledge for further research and societal applications.
NCERT has initiated the development of National Curriculum Frameworks, Annapurna Devi informed. The inclusion of the Bhagavad Gita is the basis of inputs from various ministries, states, departments, and Union Territories.
It is to boost the traditional knowledge of India among the students, who will also draw learnings from the standard text.
The minister added that the National Education Policy (NEP) 2022, paragraph 4.27, refers to Indian traditional knowledge that is both sustainable and strives for the welfare of all. She also emphasised teaching the world the “Indian way of doing things.”
Notably, the parliamentary panel has also advised the NCERT to incorporate the achievements and sacrifices of “unsung freedom fighters” from all regions of the country, including the Northeast. An emphasis should be laid on the freedom fighters and their role in the country’s struggle for independence in the school textbooks for the students to know rich Indian history, the panel noted.
The parliamentary panel urged the Union Ministry to coordinate with the NCERT, and the suggestion was tabled in the Rajya Sabha on December 19. Additionally, it was suggested that prominent Indian female personalities from various professions must be included in NCERT’s “regular books” with their contributions to make it “mandatory reading material.”
However, the move has been criticised by Congress and other Opposition parties. The opposition has alleged that the Narendra Modi-led BJP Government is trying to saffronise the Indian education system. Congress leaders also said that if BJP is introducing Bhagavad Gita in the syllabus, it should also consider other religious books.