School book defines '36-24-36' as best female body shape; sparks row
New Delhi, April 12: Excerpts from a class XII Physical Education textbook defining 36-24-36 as the "best body shape for females" have created an outrage on social media with critics demanding that the text be withdrawn.
The incident comes against the backdrop of a raging debate on lack of scrutiny of the curriculum and content taught in schools.
The book titled "Health and Physical Education" written by Dr VK Sharma and published by Delhi-based New Saraswati House, is taught at various schools affiliated to CBSE.
While CBSE only recommends books published by the National Council of Education Research and Training (NCERT), certain books from private publishers are also taught in schools affiliated to it.
"36-24-36 shape of females is considered the best. That is why in Miss World or Miss Universe competitions, such type of shape is also taken into consideration," read the excerpt from the chapter "Physiology and Sports" which is going viral.
Various Twitter users shared picture of the mentioned text and demanded that the publishers withdraw the content and schools replace the book in their curriculum. Several calls and text messages to CBSE spokesperson seeking comment on the issue went unanswered.
This, however, is not the first incident about improper content being found in textbooks taught in CBSE schools in recent months. Excerpts from a class IV environmental science textbook that suggested students to "kill a kitten" as part of an experiment had gone viral on social media, forcing the publisher to withdraw it from the market last month.
In another recent incident, a class XII Sociology book cited "ugliness" and physical disability of a girl as reasons behind the dowry issue prevalent in the country.
The HRD Ministry had last month said that CBSE has no mechanism to evaluate the quality of textbooks of private publishers.
"There is no mechanism to evaluate the quality of textbooks of private publishers. The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) has no mandate to prescribe or recommend the textbooks of private publishers in its affiliated schools," Minister of State for HRD Upendra Kushwaha had said in response to a written question in Lok Sabha.