1,800 Scientists, Educators Urge Govt to Restore Darwin’s Evolution Theory in NCERT Textbook
Charles Robert Darwin. Image Courtesy: Pixabay
New Delhi: In an open letter addressed to the Indian government, 1,800 scientists and educators expressed their concerns over removing the topic of evolution from the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) textbook. The letter was signed by scientists and educators from noted institutions, such as Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR), Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) and IITs, among others.
According to the letter, understanding the process of evolution is “crucial in building a scientific temper” and depriving students of this exposure is “travesty of education”.
Demanding that the theory of Darwinian evolution be restored in secondary education, Breakthrough Science Society – a nationwide voluntary organisation committed to the cause of science, culture and scientific outlook — has issued an open letter titled ‘An Appeal Against Exclusion of Evolution from Curriculum’.
According to reports, the chapter on evolution was removed from the NCERT textbook for class 10, along with several other chapters. The list of dropped topics in this chapter includes Charles Robert Darwin, Origin of life on Earth, Molecular Phylogeny, Evolution, and Tracing Evolutionary Relationships, among others.
The list of dropped topics in this chapter includes Charles Robert Darwin, Origin of life on Earth, Molecular Phylogeny, Evolution, and Tracing Evolutionary Relationships, among others. The decision to remove the chapters was taken by the CBSE board, which oversees the curriculum for schools affiliated with it.
The scientists and educators, who signed the open letter, argued that removing the chapter on evolution goes against scientific reasoning and the principles of rational thinking. They also claim that the removal of the chapter could hurt students' understanding of the world around them.
“Knowledge and understanding of evolutionary biology is important not just to any sub-field of biology, but is also key to understanding the world around us. Evolutionary biology is an area of science with a huge impact on how we choose to deal with an array of problems we face as societies and nations from medicine and drug discovery, epidemiology, ecology and environment, to psychology, and it also addresses our understanding of humans and their place in the tapestry of life. Although many of us do not explicitly realise, the principles of natural selection help us understand how any pandemic progresses or why certain species go extinct, among many other critical issues,” states the letter.
The open letter also highlighted the importance of the theory of evolution in the field of science and its contribution to our understanding of the natural world. The scientists and educators called for the government to restore the chapter on evolution in the NCERT textbook and ensure that scientific principles are not compromised in the education system.
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