When textbooks mislead: Incorrect history taught in Grade 10 curriculum

Published On: February 27, 2024 09:30 PM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

KATHMANDU, Feb 27: If your children are studying in Grade 10, then you should be aware that their curriculum is teaching them incorrect history. The contextual lesson on page 243 of the Nepali subject textbook for Grade 10 contains content from a letter supposedly written by the former President of America, Abraham Lincoln, to the principal of his son’s school, titled ‘What will my son have to learn’. Despite Lincoln never having written such a letter, the new curriculum includes this flawed content in the textbook.

The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield, Illinois, USA has officially confirmed that ex-President Lincoln never wrote such a letter.

It has been confirmed that this letter was identified as 'fake' in 2001. However, the Curriculum Development Center (CDC) and those responsible for designing the syllabus for Nepali subjects included the content without conducting proper research, resulting in students learning inaccurate information.

Furthermore, ex-President Lincoln was assassinated on April 2, 1865, whereas the letter is dated on February 4, 1882 which is 17 years after Lincoln's death.

Recently, such errors were exposed by the Education In Every Home And Self Reliant Development Organization (ESDO) Nepal in a 63-page audit report of school level textbooks in Nepal.

During the one-year study, the Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield, Illinois, USA, was contacted to confirm the authenticity of Abraham Lincoln's letter, and they confirmed its inaccuracy, as stated by Homraj Acharya, the chairman and researcher of the ESDO Nepal.

“Our textbook audit report has been published and this  fact was discovered during the audit. Our students are learning the incorrect history,” Acharya told Republica, “First of all, the late President Lincoln never wrote this letter. It is an internet hoax. We have been teaching students fake content that has gone viral on the internet.”

He further added, “Teaching such false history to Grade 10 students creates  an atmosphere of mistrust.”

Acharya mentioned that all such inaccuracies in textbooks would be addressed with the Education Committee of parliament. He criticized the lack of research and sensitivity in designing the curriculum of school level textbooks.

“Bhanubhakta Joshi, the chairman of the Education Committee of the House of Representatives, has said that attention has been drawn to the error in the textbook,” Acharya said, “He has stated that the audit report, which exposes all the errors in the curriculum and textbooks, has grabbed the attention of the Education Committee of parliament.”  He expressed his belief that this issue would be discussed in parliament.

Ganesh Bhattarai, former Director at CDC and currently serving as the Director for Center for Education and Human Resource Development, stressed the importance of accurate curriculum and textbooks, stating that they shape the future of children.

“It is a positive aspect that this fact has been revealed for the first time in Nepal on such an important matter,” he said.

He emphasized that authors, editors and CDC should always be sensitive during designing curriculum and textbooks.

Purna Infada, a secondary level teacher, described the revelation as a very serious factual issue and pledged to inform students of the correct facts.  He criticized those responsible for designing the textbooks for their failure to identify misleading topics and called for apologies from the authors and editors.

Acharya, the chairman of EDOS, claimed that many errors in the textbooks have been corrected recently by exposing such facts. He stressed the detrimental effects of false learning from textbooks containing inaccurate information and urged all concerned individuals to act carefully to identify and rectify errors.




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