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“Samacheer Kalvi books were propaganda material”

Special Correspondent

CHENNAI: The books printed under the “Samacheer Kalvi Thittam” (uniform school education scheme) of the DMK government was a “propaganda material” made available in the name of the scheme, it was submitted before the Madras High Court on Thursday.

During arguments before the First Bench consisting of the Chief Justice M.Y.Eqbal and Justice T.S.Sivagnanam, which was hearing petitions relating to the scheme, the Advocate-General (AG), A.Navaneethakrishnan, produced some books printed under the scheme. Citing one of the contents, he said half-a-page had been devoted to “Chennai Sangamam,” a cultural festival. Also, a poem of the former Chief Minister M.Karunanidhi was found in the books for all classes. That was not the subject one must learn in school education. Young minds could not be politicised. “They have written about themselves at the cost of the government.”

To the question that nearly Rs.200 crore had been spent for printing books under the scheme, the AG said the sum had been spent by the previous government “for their own alleged glory.”

In the land of Mahatma Gandhi, there was nothing about him in the books; but they had written about themselves. It was not the question of expenditure that was important.

The quality of education for the future generation was important.

The present government after going through the material prima facie found that it was inferior. The syllabus under the Samacheer scheme was not in the interest of welfare of the students of Tamil Nadu. The present government had followed the judgment of a Division Bench (which upheld the Tamil Nadu Uniform System of Education Act) in letter and spirit. Hence, it brought in the amendment to section 3 of the Act.

The present government has postponed the implementation of the law to enable introduction of a fresh syllabus that would enrich students' knowledge. The government was committed to developing children in the right way. “Our government has not abandoned (the scheme); but our government wants to introduce the scheme with good syllabus and textbooks.”

To the Chief Justice's question as to when the work would be completed, he said “within a year.” Books under the old syllabus would be made ready by June 15.

P.Wilson, appearing for a petitioner who opposed the amendment to section 3 of the Act, said education policy should be a one-time policy. It could not be changed now and then. It would cause confusion in the minds of students.

The board, constituted under the Act, had already examined the syllabus. The present amendment to Section 3 was for an indefinite suspension of the Samacheer Kalvi scheme. The amendment said that the old syllabus would be restored. This would pave way for discrimination among students.

N.G.R.Prasad, senior counsel appearing for the State Platform for Common School System, said without any material, the present government could not say that the entire syllabus under the Samacheer Scheme was faulty.

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