With the Opposition parties alleging deletion of 23 chapters from the Class XII history book of the Punjab School Education Board (PSEB), Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Monday announced the constitution of a six-member Oversight Committee to examine the recommendations of the 2014 panel that had reviewed the history syllabus and to oversee all history books in the future.
Addressing a press conference, the CM lashed out at the Opposition for unnecessarily politicising the issue and said his government had decided to prevent any such politicisation of history books by setting up a permanent committee to oversee the process of formulating the syllabus and ensuring error-free books on the subject.
Dismissing as politically motivated the controversy on the issue, Amarinder said the decision to review the syllabus and print books in alignment with the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) syllabus was taken during the previous Shiromani Akali Dal-Bharatiya Janata Party (SAD-BJP) government in 2014.
“In fact, there were no history books earlier and what SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal was citing was merely a guide,” said the CM.
He said there had been no deletion of syllabus relating to the Sikh Gurus, and the entire history of the Gurus, starting from Baba Banda Bahadur, had been incorporated in chronological order in Class XI and XII syllabus.
Later, an official spokesperson gave details of the committee announced by the Chief Minister. Besides Prof Kirpal Singh as its chairman, the committee shall comprise former vice-chancellor Guru Nanak Dev University Prof JS Grewal, former pro-vice chancellor GNDU Prof Prithipal Singh Kapur, emeritus professor of history Panjab University Prof Indu Banga, besides two eminent historians to be nominated by the Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee.
The committee has been mandated to consider and report on the recommendations of the Expert Group constituted by the PSEB in 2014, to review the changes made in the new history syllabus prescribed for classes XI and XII subsequent to the recommendations of the Expert Group, and to suggest corrections, if any.
The Committee has been further asked to examine the contents of the text books prescribed for classes XI and XII and to suggest corrections for factual and other errors, if any, and to align, as may be practicably possible, the history syllabus with that prescribed by the NCERT.