NCERT Books: 1,800 scientists, researchers demand restoration of Darwin’s evolution theory

NEW DELHI: Breakthrough Science Society, a collective of scientists and researchers across India, has raised concerns over the deleted ‘Theory of Biological Evolution’ from National Council of Educational Training and Research (NCERT) books for Class 10.

Condemning NCERT’s decision, the collective wrote that learning “evolutionary biology is important not just to any subfield of biology, but is also key to understanding the world around us”. In a statement released on Thursday, the collective also stressed on the importance of understanding evolution to build “scientific temper and rational worldview”.

An “integral part of the science syllabus” in Class 10 NCERT books, the society has called for the restoration of Charles Darwin’s evolution theory in secondary education. Appealing against the exclusion of evolution in books, the society has also written an open letter, signed by more than 1,800 scientists, science teachers, educators, and concerned citizens.

In June last year the NCERT rationalised textbooks of Classes 6 to 12 to reduce the content load of students, The new textbooks are being taught in schools in the current academic year.

Also Read| NCERT says ‘minor deletions’ weren’t notified to avoid confusion

According to the council’s document listing the changes, Chapter 9 in a NCERT Class 10 textbook titled ‘Heredity and Evolution’ has been replaced with ‘Heredity’. The chapter included topics on Charles Robert Darwin, Origin of life on Earth, Molecular Phylogeny, Evolution, Evolution and Classification, Tracing Evolutionary Relationships, Evolution by Stages, and Human Evolution that have now been dropped in the rationalisation process.

Scientists have argued that the “temporary measures” taken during the pandemic are being continued even though schooling has gone back to offline mode.

Here’s the complete text of Breakthrough Science Society’s open letter.

Scientists’ open letter on NCERT books

‘An Appeal Against Exclusion of Evolution from Curriculum’

We, the undersigned, have learned that sweeping changes are being proposed in the CBSE curriculum in the secondary and senior secondary courses. These changes, first introduced as a temporary measure during the Corona pandemic, are being continued even when schooling has gone back to offline mode….