Amar Bangla Boi, the textbook for first graders, faced a hale of criticism earlier in 2017 for an illustration depicting a goat that was climbing a mango tree. The National Curriculum and Textbook Board (NCTB) had made a series of changes to the textbook following the debacle.
However, it appears that the NCTB, despite suffering ridicule from both the media and the social network users, could not disregard its love and appreciation for goats.
In the revised edition of the textbook, the goat is no longer climbing the tree, but is standing gently on the ground.
The above mentioned goat illustration can be found in page 11 of Amar Bangla Boi. However, that goat is not alone, as the textbook has five of them. Four can even be seen in just one page.
The book has illustrations of many impressive animals, such as tiger, lion, deer, cow, chicken and birds. However, none of these animals has been featured on multiple pages.
One is thus left wondering, why so many goats?
The previous iteration of the book faced heavy criticism for containing controversial content and design choices. It featured an illustration of a goat climbing a tree.
A huge number of people strongly criticized the illustration by pointing out that a goat cannot climb on to a mango tree, and a human is a much better choice to highlight the attractiveness of a mango.
Even in the revised edition, the goat was not removed, but repositioned.
The textbooks will be distributed free of charge to students across the country on January 1, 2018, as part of the Textbook Festival Day.
The first picture on page 11 of the Bangla textbook contains an illustration of a goat walking with the text “Ouj ashe” meaning “The goat is here”.
The second picture contains an illustration of a bee, with the text “Oli hashe” meaning “The bee is smiling.” But there is a goat in the picture.
The third picture shows a mango tree and a goat, with the text “Aam khai” meaning “Let’s eat mango.”
The page has another illustration of a goat at the bottom of the page and yet another one on page 19.
Speaking to the correspondent, academician AN Rasheda said: “The illustration of a goat in the first picture makes logical sense, but why is there a goat in the second picture?
“The second text is about bees, but it also features a goat. Even the illustration depicting a mango tree has a goat in it. Humans also consume mangoes, they could have used the illustration of a child there. Why is the NCTB showcasing goats?”
She added that the NCTB must really appreciate goats, because using so many illustrations of the animal in the same book is definitely irrelevant.
“What point is the NCTB is trying to make with this design choice? The irrelevancy could have been corrected in the revised edition,” said Rasheda.
Addressing the issue, AHM Saiduzzaman, a teacher at the Willes Little Flower School said: “I think the NCTB included these illustrations of goats on purpose. A certain quarter might be trying to damage the education system of this country.”
Responding to a query, NCTB member (Syllabus) Professor Md Moshiuzzaman said: “The education minister himself directed us to remove illustrations of “goat climbing a tree” and “girl wearing an orna (scarf) earlier in 2017. So, we revised the textbook according to his guidance.
“We have organized workshops and consulted experts on the matter. The textbook was revised and corrected as per their recommendations,” he concluded.The article was first published on Bangla Tribune