From next year onwards, the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) will be the only agency to publish school textbooks while the CBSE's role will be restricted to its original mandate of holding examinations and affiliation.
The decision was taken on Tuesday at a meeting chaired by school education secretary Anil Swarup and attended by CBSE secretary and NCERT director among others. It was also decided that books published by the CBSE will henceforth be prepared by the NCERT, whose chief Hrushikesh Senapaty made a presentation on the plan of action.
"The ministry has asked the NCERT to gear up its operations for the expected increase in volume as more schools are likely to use its textbooks from the next academic session.
The NCERT presented its plan of action and said it would be ready for the increased volume as well as with the revision process before the start of the next academic session," said an official of the HRD ministry.
The council, which is reviewing all its textbooks from classes I to XII, has also invited suggestions from teachers across states and Union territories on factual error and suggestions on content and concept presentation by June 30. Once the suggestions come, the subject experts will also look into the recommendations for updating of the books, according to sources. These books were created in 2007 and there is a lot of information that needs to be updated.
"Apart from factual errors, the Council has also been asked to improve the presentation of the books qualitatively," said the official. Following HRD ministry's intervention a circular was issued by CBSE urging its affiliated schools to raise their demand for the NCERT textbooks online so that the Council can supply the book on time ahead of the start of the 2017-18 academic session from April 2017. Over 2,000 schools raised their demands making a booking of close to 5 million books this year.
The ministry is also of the view that CBSE should concentrate only on its mandate — examination and affiliation of schools. It has been asked to stop publication of textbooks and the task of publishing those textbooks will also now be taken over by NCERT.
In fact, following the recent controversy over a physical education book for class XII by a private publisher, the CBSE has already requested NCERT for a book by the Council for its school.