Education challenges

Publisher of school textbook saying ‘36-24-36 is ideal shape for women’ to face action: HRD official

Media reports had said the textbook was being used in CBSE-affiliated schools.

The Ministry of Human Resources Department on Thursday said that action will be taken against the publisher of a Class 12 textbook that said “36-24-36” was the “perfect body shape” for women. The textbook, titled Health and Physical Education and authored by Dr VK Sharma, was being taught in the Central Board of Secondary Education schools, media reports had said earlier this week.

“Neither a book approved by CBSE nor published by NCERT. Action to be taken against private publisher,” Anil Swarup, secretary, department of school education and literacy, MHRD tweeted.

The textbook, published by New Saraswati House says “36-24-36 shape of females is considered the best”. The textbook further justifies this statement by adding that the contestants on beauty pageants are judged on the basis of this parameter. In the revised edition of the textbook published in November 2016, “36-24-36” has been replaced with “hourglass” figure, reported The Times of India. The printing, selling and distribution of the revised version of the textbook was stopped with “immediate effect”, the publisher told the English daily.

On Wednesday, the CBSE had said it does not recommend books by any private publishers to its affiliate schools. “The reference to CBSE in this news is vehemently denied. It is totally incorrect and does not have any credible base,” the board said in a statement.

Citing rules mentioned under the Affiliation bye-laws of the Board, the CBSE in its statement said schools have been asked to follow textbooks prescribed by it and the National Council of Educational Research and Training as far as possible. “It also states that the schools will exercise extreme care while selecting books of private publishers,” it added.

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