Communicating Caste and Gender: Understanding Narratives on Systemic Discrimination in Textbooks from CBSE, TN and UP Boards

School textbooks, which form the foundation of our education, play a vital role in shaping our understanding of the world around us. This rings truest for social sciences, which describe society and its multiple realities. In the process, social sciences tend to present a version of an issue or an event to young impressionable minds. Therefore, they have educational and sensitisation consequences. This becomes especially important in Indian society, which is rife with discriminatory practices and attempts to justify them, such as ones based on caste and gender. Both these forms of discrimination are systemic malaises and date to ancient times. Textbooks, then, have to be analysed to understand the narratives they adopt, to educate and sensitise students on such issues.

This study aims to look at three social science textbooks-History, Civics and Political Science, used at upper primary and secondary levels from three different educational boards: National Council for Educational Research and Training (NCERT), taught in Central Board for Secondary Education (CBSE) schools; State Council for Educational Research and Training (SCERT), Tamil Nadu (TN), taught in TN board schools; and SCERT, Uttar Pradesh (UP) in conjunction with State Institute of Education (SIE) and the UP board, taught in UP board schools.

The study aims to understand, through a textual analysis, some of the pedagogic, policy, political, historical and social factors that determine the direction and shape of the narratives on gender and caste-based discrimination in these textbooks. This research report also provides examples pointing out the nature of discriminatory references from current textbooks. An attempt is also made to outline merits and demerits of the narrative adopted.

The author hopes that this research report will help in recognising the need to reshape and restructure the content of textbooks, wherever necessary. Such an exercise by policy-makers in education could provide a better frame of reference for young students to enhance their understanding of the systemic discrimination in their immediate socio-political reality.

[PDF 1.26 MB]

This article is closed for comments.
Please Email The Hindu Centre

Policy Report

Farmer Producer Companies: Preliminary Studies on Efficiency and Equity from Maharashtra

Bridging Multiple Gaps: Strengthening India’s Research Protocols for Assistive Aids

The Phenomenon of Political Dynasties Among the Muslim Legislators of Uttar Pradesh

‘Nobody's Children, Owners of Nothing’: Analysing the Indian State’s Policy Response to the Rohingya Refugee Crisis

Living with Pain: Women’s Everyday Lives and Health in Rural Bihar

The Politics and Governance of Social Policies in Delhi: Comparing Cash and In-kind Transfers

Enabling Social Accountability: The Community Health Worker Programmes of Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand

At the City’s Margins: Coal, Land and Livelihoods in Chennai

Rural India on the National Optic Fibre Network: What Happens Next?

Modern Day Slavery: A Study of Tribals and Dalits as Bonded Labour in Brick Kilns

Narratives of Dalit Inclusion and Exclusion in Formulating and Implementing the Forest Rights Act, 2006

The Plight of Kashmiri Half-Widows

Enabling Reporting of Rape in India: An Exploratory Study

Youth Activism and Democratic Politics in India’s Northeast: 2014 Election in Perspective

Dholera Smart City: Urban Infrastructure or Rentier Growth?

Communicating Caste and Gender: Understanding Narratives on Systemic Discrimination in Textbooks from CBSE, TN and UP Boards

Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana: An Analysis of Policy Design and Implementation Gaps

Caste, Urban Spaces and the State: Dalits in Telangana

Crisis of Urban Governance in India

The Future of Post Offices as Banking Institutions in India

Intra-party Democracy and Indian Political Parties

Gujarat, Rajasthan and Punjab: The Need for a Border States Group

The Puzzle of the BJP's Muslim Supporters in Gujarat

Web Freedom and Criminal Libel in India

Why Intelligence Fails

Ethics of Disobedience

Decisional Analysis and the Role of the Speaker