Punjab panel to re-examine Class 12 History syllabus

Chandigarh: Facing a sustained opposition attack over alleged dilution of Sikh history taught in Class 12, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Monday announced the establishment of a permanent six-member Oversight Committee to examine the issue.

Eminent historian Prof Kirpal Singh will head the committee, which will comprise former Guru Nanak Dev University Vice Chancellor Prof J.S. Grewal, former GNDU Pro-Vice Chancellor Prof Prithipal Singh Kapur, Panjab University History Emeritus Prof Indu Banga, besides two eminent historians to be nominated by the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee.

Addressing the media here on Monday, Amarinder Singh lashed out at the opposition for “unnecessarily politicising the issue”.

“My government has decided to prevent any such politicisation of history books by setting up a permanent committee to oversee formulation of the syllabi and ensure error-free books on the subject,” the Chief Minister said.

Dismissing as “politically motivated” the controversy on the issue, the Chief Minister said the decision to review the History syllabi and print text books in line with NCERT syllabi was taken during the earlier Shiromani Akali Dal-Bharatiya Janata Party (SAD-BJP) government’s rule in 2014.

“In fact, there were no History books earlier and what SAD President Sukhbir Singh Badal was citing was merely a guide,” Amarinder Singh pointed out.

The Chief Minister reasserted that there was no deletion of any part of the syllabi in connection with the Sikh Gurus, and that the entire history of the Sikh Gurus had been incorporated in the chronological order in Class XI and XII syllabi.

The opposition, particularly the SAD, is claimed that the chapters on Sikh history, especially the Gurus, had been deleted in the new books under the Congress rule.

“The committee has been mandated to consider and report on the recommendations of the Expert Group constituted by the Punjab School Education Board in 2014, to review the changes made in the new syllabus in History subject prescribed for Classes XI and XII subsequent to the recommendations of the Expert Group, and to suggest corrections, if any,” a Punjab government spokesman said here.

The Committee will also examine the contents of the text books prescribed for these classes and to suggest corrections for factual and other errors, if any, and to align, as may be practicably possible, the History syllabus with NCERT, he added.

The committee will also exercise oversight on the syllabi and contents of text books prescribed for History for all classes by Punjab School Education Board and to ensure that there are no factual discrepancies, he said.