Minister of State for School Education Fauzia Khan said expert opinion was sought before revising and updating the syllabi considering the current national and global scenario.
“A final decision on including a module on terrorism will be taken once we go through the feedback,” she said.
A number of responses received by MSCERT disagree with the need to include such a chapter. Most of these responses are from Muslim academic institutions that fear it will lead to branding of the community.
Maulana Mehmood Daryabadi of All India Ulema Council said: “Our freedom-fighters were branded terrorists by the British. Palestinians are branded terrorists by a section in the West but they are fighting for their land. In such a scenario, the terror definition can end up being vague and lead to branding of certain communities.”
Ibrahim Abidi of Tanzeem-e-Asatiza said terrorism was not a term but a label. “We educationists have apprehension whether a student in class eight can understand relativity of the word and the politics around it. When Muslim and non-Muslim students sit in the same class it is crucial for those teaching such a sensitive topic to be efficient and aware of issues. If not, the impact on young minds could be adverse,” he said.
However, officials said it won’t be an in-depth module. “There are several problems plaguing the world today. Accordingly, we have introduced a topic for students of std VIII that focuses on the role played by India with respect to problems such as terrorism and ways to deal with it, ways in which one can reduce the use of weapons and how to bring about peace,” said N K Jarad, SCERT director.
Basanti Roy, former divisional secretary of Maharashtra State Board of Secondary and Higher Secondary Education said, “It is a welcome move since our syllabi need to be in tune with modern times. However, the way the issue is addressed is important since it should not hurt sentiments of certain sects of society.”
Guruprasad Rege, Director of Balmohan Vidyamandir, Dadar, said: “If such a topic has to be introduced, adequate care should be taken that teachers are sensitised so that when children are exposed to this delicate issue there is no distortion of issue and disharmony.”