National Council of Educational Research and Training
The National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) is an autonomous organisation of the Government of India that was established on 1 September 1961 as a literary, scientific and charitable Society under the Societies' Registration Act (Act XXI of 1860). Its headquarters are located at Sri Aurbindo Marg in New Delhi. Dr Hrushikesh Senapathy has been director of the council since September 2015. NCERT assists and advises the central and state governments on academic matters related to school education.
Textbooks published by NCERT are prescribed by the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) from classes I to XII, with exceptions for a few subjects. Around 19 school boards from 14 states have adopted or adapted the books. Online textbooks can be downlaoded from the epathshala website. Those who wish to adopt the textbooks are required to send a request to NCERT, upon which soft copies of the books are received. The material is press-ready and may be printed by paying a 5% royalty, and by acknowledging NCERT.
The textbooks are printed in colour and are amongst the least expensive books in Indian bookstores, with each for up to class VIII having a maximum price of Rs 50 (formerly Rs 30). Textbooks produced by private publishers are priced higher than those of NCERT.  According to a government policy decision in 2017, the NCERT will have the exclusive task of publishing central text books from 2018, and the role of CBSE will be limited to conducting examinations.
The Government of India's Ministry of Education resolved on 27 July 1961 to establish the National Council of Educational Research and Training, which formally began operation on 1 September 1961. The Council was formed by merging seven existing national government institutions, namely the Central Institute of Education, the Central Bureau of Textbook Research, the Central Bureau of Educational and Vocational Guidance, the Directorate of Extension Programmes for Secondary Education, the National Institute of Basic Education, the National Fundamental Education Centre, and the National Institute of Audio-Visual Education. It is separate from the National Council for Indian Education.
The NCERT was established with the agenda to design and support a common system of education which is national in character and also enables and encourages the diverse culture across the country. Based on the recommendations of the Education Commission(1964-66), the first national policy statement on education was issued in 1968. The policy endorsed the adoption of a uniform pattern of school education across country consisting of 10 year of general education program followed by 2 years of diversified schooling.
The Curriculum for the Ten-year school: This framework came in 1975. It emphasised that a curriculum based on the principles laid out in the framework has to be developed on the basis of research. Thus for NCERT, the 1970s was a decade flushed with curriculum research and development activities to relate the content and process of education to Indian realities.
National Curriculum for Elementary and Secondary Education: This revised curriculum framework came in 1988 after the National Policy on Education(1986).It encompassed 12 years of school education and suggested a reorientation of curricular and instructional materials to make them more child-centered. It advocated bringing out examination reforms and the implementation of Continuous and Comprehensive Evaluation at all stages of education.
National Curriculum Framework for School Education: This framework came in 2000. It stressed the need for a healthy, enjoyable and stress free childhood and reduction of the curricular load. Thus an integrated and thematic approach was suggested, environmental education was emphasized upon and language and mathematics got integrated in the first two years of schooling.
Main article: National Curriculum Framework (NCF 2005)
National Curriculum Framework: The council came up with a new National Curriculum Framework in 2005, drafted by a National Steering Committee. This exercise was based on 5 guiding principles:
- connecting knowledge to life outside school
- shift from the rote method of learning
- enriching the curriculum for overall development of children so that it goes beyond textbooks
- making examinations flexible and integrating them with classroom life and
- nurturinfg an identitiy informed by caring concerns.
The design of the NCERT logo is taken from an Ashokan period relic of the 3rd century BCE which was found in excavations near Maske in Raichur district, Karnataka. The motto has been taken from the Isha Upanishad and means 'life eternal through learning'. The interwined hansas symbolise the integration of the three aspects of the work of NCERT: 1. Research and development 2. Training, and 3. Extension
The council's objectives are:
i) To promote and conduct educational research, experimentation of innovative ideas and practices.
ii) To develop National Curriculum Framework (NCF 2005), syllabi, and textbooks; teaching-learning materials and kits; training models and strategies; audio, video, and ICT materials.
iii) Training of Pre-service and in-service teacher education and national and state level functionaries.
iv) To collaborate with State, national and international organizations.
NCERT has a comprehensive extension programme in which departments of the National Institute of Education, Regional Institute of Education, Central Institute of Vocational Education and field advisers' offices in the states are engaged in activities. Several programmes are organised in rural and backward areas to reach out to functionaries in these areas.
The council acts as the Secretariat of the National Development Group for Educational Innovations. The council has been offering training facilities, usually through attachment programmes and participation in workshops, to education workers of other countries. The council publishes textbooks for school subjects from Classes I to XII. NCERT publishes books & provides sample question papers that are used in government and private schools across India that follow the CBSE curriculum.
An online system named e-pathshala has been developed for disseminating educational e-resources including textbooks, audio, video, periodicals and a variety of other print and non-print materials, ensuring their free access through mobile phones and tablets (as e-pub) and from the web through laptops and desktops (as flipbooks).
Ever since its establishment, the organisation has faced a great deal of controversy and continues to do so today. The controversy centers around allegations of attempted "saffronised" rewriting of Indian history (i.e., making lessons consonant with the Hindutva). Allegations of historical revisionism with a Hindu nationalist agenda arose in two periods: under the Janata Party government 1977 to 1980 and again under the Bharatiya Janata Party government from 1998 to 2004. In 2012, the organisation has been blamed for publishing 'offensive' cartoons against B.R. Ambedkar, the architect of the Indian Constitution and thus lodging an insult to the Constitution, in its textbooks. The controversy led to the resignation of NCERT chief advisors Yogendra Yadav and Suhas Palshikar and an apology from the government.
- Kumar, Prabhat. "Memorandum Of Association". Retrieved 12 September 2016.
- Pokhriyal, Sachin (12 September 2015). "NCERT gets its new Director as Hrushikesh Senapaty". Retrieved 2 September 2016.
- "Flipbook | NCERT | Learning on the go, Govt. of India". epathshala.nic.in. Retrieved 2017-07-08.
- "Why NCERT textbooks matter". The Hindu. May 7, 2017.
- From 2018, only NCERT to publish school textbooks, The Times of India, 7 June 2017.
- Leading the Change: 50 years of NCERT, NCERT, 19 August 2011
- "leading_the_change" (PDF). NCERT.
- "leading_the_change" (PDF). www.ncert.nic.in.
- "RFD_ncert.pdf" (PDF). www.ncert.nic.in.
- "Only NCERT books at all CBSE schools".