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Primary textbooks contain misinformation on Adivasis

Roundtable told

Despite making corrections, the primary school level textbooks still contain some wrong and misleading information about the culture and lifestyle of the country's indigenous communities, speakers said at a roundtable yesterday.
The inaccurate information is leaving a negative impression on the young minds and may put communal harmony at stake, they said, calling for bringing more modifications in the books, portraying Adivasis positively and including their contributions.
The roundtable "Ethnic identity in textbooks: Our attitude" was organised by Development Initiative for Inclusive People (DIIP) and Zabarang Kalyan Samity in cooperation with Manusher Jonno Foundation (MJF) and Ministry of CHT Affairs at Jatiya Press Club.
Speaking on the occasion, DIIP Executive Director Chowdhury Ataur Rahman Rana gave some examples of misinformation. The class V textbook Poribesh Porichiti Samaj (Social Science) says Garo women wear blouse and lungi, which is not correct, he said. "Garo women put on a traditional dress which resembles their identity."
He also said the social science book for class IV described rabbit meat, pork, and crabs as favourite food items for Santal community, which was irrelevant in the children's textbooks and might create a mental distance between people who consumed them and who did not.
Ataur Rahman urged the writers of the National Curriculum and Textbook Board (NCTB) books to be more responsible while writing about indigenous people.
"The textbooks portray mostly negatives things on indigenous people," claimed Shaktipada Chakma, organisational secretary, Bangladesh Adivasi Forum.
Shaheen Anam, executive director of MJF, said, "We've to portray them positively so that our children do not have any negative attitude towards them."
Primary and Mass Education Minister Afsarul Ameen said making correction was a continuous process, and they would bring necessary changes to the textbooks.
NCTB Chairman Mostofa Kamaluddin said the class V textbook would be replaced next year with more positive contents under a modern curriculum.

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