Position paper aims to instill critical thinking: Karnataka NEP task force leader | Latest India News

The “knowledge of India” stance, which encourages students not to accept the content of textbooks as infallible truth and to question “fake news” like the Pythagorean theorem and the falling apple over the head of Isaac Newton is part of the critical thinking process, the head of Karnataka’s National Education Policy (NEP) Task Force said on Sunday.

“While the recommendation explicitly advocates instilling in our students the faculty of critical thinking by questioning anything and everything before accepting them, which is also incidentally the modern scientific way which resonates well with the India’s traditional way of creating and disseminating knowledge, it is incomprehensible to associate such a recommendation with any controversy,” Madan Gopal, the task force leader, told HT.

Gopal also shared two links in which former President Pratibha Patil mentions the contribution of Baudhayana Sulva Sutra during the International Mathematical Congress in 2010.

“India has been at the forefront in contributing innovations in arithmetic, algebra and geometry in different periods. The Pythagorean Theorem finds its place in the Baudhayana Sulva Sutra, a work dating back to the 8th century BC. The concept of zero or shunya originated in India. Pierre-Simon La Place, a French mathematician said in the 19th century that “it was India that gave us the ingenious method of expressing all numbers by means of ten symbols, each symbol given a value of position, as well as an absolute value; a profound and important idea. The contributions of Aryabhatta and Brahmagupta to the development of algebra and astronomy in the 6th and 7th centuries are well recognized. In the 12th century, there was Bhaskaracharya. His work ‘Leelavati’ was medieval India’s main source for learning algebra and arithmetic, according to the speech, available at the government archives (http: //pratibhapatil.nic.in/sp190810 .html).

The “clarification” comes days after Gopal, in an interview with HT, said there were several discussions on international platforms like Google and Quora about the origin of Pythagoras’ theorem and Newton’s theory.

“If you just go to Quora or Google, there’s a lot of debate and discussion and evidence that it was Baudhāyana (former Indian mathematician) who came up with this theory which was later adopted by Pythagoras. We don’t have denounced the theory, nor the teaching of the same will stop. We have only said that the origins are rooted in ancient India. I can send you the full text from Quora,” he had said.

The apple falling on Newton’s head that led him to the theory of gravity actually comes from ancient Kerala texts.

“With the aim of empowering children to become responsible citizens of a greater India in the future, some of the following suggestions can be implemented: encouraging a questioning attitude and not just accepting whatever say textbooks (or print/electronic/social media) as infallible truth, with a clear basis on how knowledge generation takes place and how fake news such as the Pythagorean theorem, an apple falling on the Newton’s head, etc. are created and propagated,” according to the position paper.

The stances, one of which even claims that eating eggs and meat lead to lifestyle disorders, have come under heavy criticism from academic experts and the political opposition, who accused the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of trying to ‘saffronise’ school education.

With only a year to go until the elections in Karnataka, the position paper lends to the possibility that it has political overtones through which the BJP and its main backing groups like pro-Hindu organizations have attacked the hijab, the draft anti-conversion, halal, azaan and almost criminalize several activities associated with minority groups, people familiar with the developments said.

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