The National Curriculum and Textbook Board (NCTB) arbitrarily changes the contents of textbooks at primary and secondary levels after facing political and communal pressures, says a new study of Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB).
“The process of NCTB’s textbook formulation is unclear — its manuscripts are not written properly while political and ideological influence of a specific group are present (in the contents of textbooks),” the study reveals.
The findings of the study titled ‘National Curriculum and Textbook Board (NCTB): Challenges of Good Governance and a Way-out in its Manuscript Formulation and Publication Management’ were revealed at a press conference at TIB head office in the capital on Monday.
TIB deputy programme manager Morsheda Akter presented the study findings.
It finds that 16 write-ups from five textbooks at primary and secondary levels have been excluded while 11 poems were removed based on the demand of a specific communal group.
The names, which were meant to be Hindu, Christian and foreign ones, were removed from English textbooks of madrasah replacing Islamic words, the TIB study said, adding that even the name of the NCTB chairman, as he belongs Hinduism, was removed from the textbooks of madrasah.
Speaking at the press conference, TIB executive director Dr Iftekharuzzaman said the authorities concerned were compelled to bring changes in textbooks and included such words, which go against the spirit of the Bangladesh’s independent, after it faced the demands of a communal group.
If the anti-liberation issues make their way into textbooks and get institutionalised, he said, the new generation will turn out to be ‘communal’, which is a matter of concern.
The Berlin-based anti-graft watchdog in the study also finds irregularities and corruption in the formulation of textbooks, including writing manuscript, publication and distribution.
The study says corruption and irregularities are found in the process of textbook publication and giving work orders, and the NCTB lacks capacity and professional skill in inspecting and monitoring its activities, which hampers the supply of textbooks across the country.
The TIB in its study recommended establishing the NCTB as an independent commission so that it can independently formulate policies regarding textbook formulation and publication.
Dr Iftekharuzzaman stressed the need for formulation of a committee involving experts to find a way to make the NCTB as a commission so that the agency can work independently in formulation and publication of textbooks.
TIB adviser (Executive Management) Dr Sumaiya Khair was, among others, present at the press conference. unb