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Mansi Khandelwal

IWB Blogger

Educationist Nisha Jain Reacts To The Bizarre ’36-24-36′ Size Chart In CBSE Textbooks

  • IWB Post
  •  April 17, 2017


Who defines what the appropriate size of a female body is? Is it important to be healthy or match a particular size chart because that is what is IDEAL!

It is so important to impart the right knowledge to children and the youth to make our country grow as a healthy and positive nation. What thoughts we feed them is what they become.

In a recent case, a group of educationists came across one of the most bizarre and unacceptable statements in a class XII CBSE textbook.

It certified 36-24-36 figures best for females!

Yes, you heard it right! What would the young impressionable minds learn if their school textbooks print out such nonsensical statements? To delve deeper into the issue our education system is facing with the content, Indian Women Blog spoke to educationist Nisha Jain Grover.

Founder Director of Vatsala Legacy Pvt Ltd and territory head of Early Childhood Association, Nisha is a national awardee counselor and psychologist working in the field of education for the last 13 years. She is on the panel of over 15000 teachers, parents, and students of different institutions pan India.

How did you come across this text?

This text was published in a class 12th CBSE book. While discussing certain issues with fellow educationists, we noticed this and found it absolutely bizarre. Mentioning things like this has been a point of concern to a lot of people.

What is your take on this text as:

An Educationist: Making girls believe that a particular body size is right or is apt is nothing but body shaming towards others. Also, making them believe that this size is achievable and this is what they should aim is absolutely wrong. This is not at all acceptable.

A Mother: As a mother, I feel it is totally disgusting. I never believe in such restricted size parameters so why would I want my daughter to believe in them. My daughter is 5’8, ” and her body structure is very different. Why would she be taught to believe that with whatever height she has, she should have this body size!

Woman: I feel no matter what shape you are in, it is the confidence that matters. Maybe, someone who has an ‘Ideal’ 36, 24, 36 is not that competent and confident as compared to the one who doesn’t. I find such body standards extremely unrealistic and stupid.

The ideal condition is that one should be healthy!

What conversations should parents have with their children when they come across such things in the textbooks?

Every parent should first explain to their children about fitness and not size! Children need to understand the importance of being fit no matter in what size you are. They should never be a set target. Everybody structure is different, and so are body sizes. As a parent myself, I would always encourage my daughter to have realistic and important goals that echo of body positivity, acceptance and loving yourself in its natural form.

How should the textbooks be filtered and who should monitor them?

This is a little controversial question! The thing is that the textbooks are monitored by educationists and schools, but there are times when we might miss a thing or two. It happens at times that the Principal might not know all the content that is being shared in the class. So according to me, NCERT approved books are the best solution and books by private publication houses should not be used.

What kind of filters should the writers apply while writing the textbooks according to you?

The issue is that most of the private publications do not apply any filters to their books. They are so mesmerized by the western education system and culture that they hardly pay a heed to what is being taught and how is that impacting the students.

For example, recently I was teaching Math to a second standard student. The addition sum said: If I had 20 bottles of beer and Sam had 10 bottles of beer, how many in total do we have?

What impact would it have on a child who doesn’t even know what beer is! Why couldn’t it be an example of any other thing? Such texts unnecessarily generate negative curiosity among young ones.

I feel textbooks should have the following filters:

  • Gender Equality
  • Body Shaming
  • And that of the diversity of caste, creed, and color.

As an educationist why do you think we have content issues?

I feel we have content issues because we have very few content providers and even fewer content monitors. We lack in our resources to make the education system better. We need major stakeholders to monitor and authenticate the content being provided to students.

On the educational front, what issues require urgent attention from the government, from parents, and from schools?

The government needs to look at more ‘Inclusive education.’ Whereas parents should enhance their participation in the education of their children and the schools should improve their monitoring department and be more aware.

Have you ever encountered difficulties in helping any child with their homework?

Yes. I use to provide tuitions to a 3rd standard child who was dyslexic. I met him when he was in 2nd grade. He once came to the tuition with his homework. He was asked to write an entire page on the solar system when he couldn’t even understand alphabets clearly. I was shocked to know how the school couldn’t find that he was dyslexic for two years and made him struggle.

Being an educationist how is the schooling of your children different from other parents?

I am totally involved with my children and their activities. I am aware of what they are being taught in schools and what they are doing apart from their classes. I keep track of all their school and off school activities. I make sure I speak to them for about half an hour every day before they go on to start their next day. As an educationist and a parent, I would suggest that every parent should take care of their children’s activities and not entirely depend on the schools.   

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