The National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) has removed a chapter on the periodic table of elements from the Class 10 science textbook as part of its syllabus rationalization exercise, officials revealed. This move, which came to light after an article in the scientific journal Nature, has raised concerns among experts who consider the periodic table crucial to fundamental learning.
NCERT officials explained that the chapter was eliminated to reduce the content load on students during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2022, and the changes were implemented in the new textbooks published this year. The revised syllabus now includes a reduced curriculum, focusing on essential topics.
While the Class 10 science textbook no longer features the chapter titled “Periodic Classification of Elements,” the Class 11 chemistry textbook still contains a chapter on “Classification of Elements and Periodicity in Properties,” which covers the history of the periodic table’s development.
Experts have expressed apprehensions regarding the removal of the periodic table chapter. Anand Prakash, an assistant professor of chemistry at Delhi University, emphasized that it forms the foundation of chemistry and is necessary for understanding higher-level science subjects.
Vimmi Baleja, a TGT Science teacher at Mount Abu Public School in Delhi, highlighted the significance of the periodic table in basic science education. She suggested that rather than completely removing the chapter, specific portions could have been condensed or modified.
In response to criticism, NCERT clarified through Twitter that basic concepts related to elements, compounds, and atoms are taught in Class 9, while more detailed coverage of the periodic table and evolution is provided in Classes 11 and 12.
Apart from the periodic table chapter, several other topics were also omitted from the syllabus, including the theory of evolution, references to the Cold War, Mughal courts, industrial revolution, the 2002 Gujarat riots, the role of agriculture in the Indian economy, and challenges to democracy.
NCERT explained that these changes were made to address factors such as overlapping topics, relevance in the present context, difficulty level, and the potential for self-learning or peer-learning.