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IMA, NCERT and Existing Inequalities – Issues Around Availability and Accessibility of Health Care: Sarojini N. B. and Deepa V.

Guest post by SAROJINI N.B. and DEEPA V

[A story appeared on 11 July 2015 in some newspapers about the Indian Medial Association demanding deletions from a class VII NCERT textbook. An immediate response appeared in Kafila to some of the issues raised by IMA.

This post, whose authors Sarojini and Deepa were centrally involved in the writing of the textbook in question, here put certain things in perspective. They present this as an initial clarificatory response to the news report. ]

We are writing regarding an article “Docs oppose ‘negative’ portrayal by NCERT” that appeared in the front page of The Hindu on 11 JUly 2015, Delhi edition by Bindu Shajan Perappadan. The article refers to the chapter “Role of the Government in Health” in the NCERT’s social science textbook on Social and Political Life-II for Class VII students. The article reports that the IMA has written to President Pranab Mukherjee, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Ministries of Health and Education, pointing to the “objectionable description” of private healthcare services. The IMA has also demanded “immediate remedial action” stating in their letter that the “matter should be taken seriously and the NCERT should be directed to delete or re-write this chapter”.

In 2007, several NCERT text books were developed, including the textbook in question Social and Political Life-II for Class VII, through a consultative and contributory process in which many of us were involved. The process led by NCERT was a progressive attempt at reviewing and developing content on a range of subject areas and issues in the country, in order to generate knowledge that is as contemporary and comprehensive as possible, and encourages critical and analytical thinking on the part of students.  While the issues were complex, authors / contributors as a group attempted to develop chapters that would reflect an understanding that is rooted in social, economic and political realities, while making them interesting and comprehensible for class VII students. The chapters foreground existing inequalities and discuss the issues around availability and accessibility of health care – including some key characteristics of the private and public health sector. Continue reading IMA, NCERT and Existing Inequalities – Issues Around Availability and Accessibility of Health Care: Sarojini N. B. and Deepa V.