New Delhi: Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Monday (condemned “blatantly misogynist” and “nonsensical” questions in the Class-10 CBSE exam, saying those reflected “extremely poorly” on the standards of education and testing.
In the Class-10 CBSE exam conducted on Saturday, the English paper carried a comprehension passage with sentences such as “emancipation of women destroyed the parents’ authority over the children” and “it was only by accepting her husband’s way that a mother could gain obedience over the younger ones”, and questions based on the passage.
Raising the issue during the Zero Hour in the Lok Sabha, Gandhi demanded an immediate withdrawal of the said passage, an apology from the government and a review into the “gravest lapse”.
“The passage contains atrocious statements such as ‘women gaining independence is the main reason for a wide variety of social and family problems’ and if ‘wives stops obeying their husbands, that is the main reason children and servants are indisciplined’,” she said, reading out excerpts from the Class-10 CBSE question paper.
The Congress chief said the entire passage was riddled with such condemnable ideas and the questions that followed were equally “nonsensical”.
Seeking clarification from the government on the issue raised by Gandhi, members of the Congress, the DMK, the IUML, the NCP and the National Conference walked out of the House.
“I add my voice to the concerns of students, parents, teachers and educationists and I raise strong objections to such blatantly misogynist material finding its way into an important examination conducted by the CBSE,” Gandhi said.
She urged the Ministry of Education and the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) to immediately withdraw the questions, issue an apology and conduct a thorough review into this “gravest lapse” to ensure that “this is never, never repeated again”.
“I also urge that the Ministry of Education must conduct a review of the gender sensitivity standards of the curriculum and the textbooks,” the Lok Sabha member from Rae Bareli said.
Rahul Gandhi slams CBSE for controversial passage
Earlier, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi also hit out at the CBSE over a comprehension passage in class 10 English paper, terming it as “disgusting” and a “ploy” of the RSS-BJP to crush the morale and future of the youth.
The comprehension passage in the CBSE class 10 English question paper has sparked controversy for allegedly promoting “gender stereotyping” and supporting “regressive notions” prompting the board to refer the matter to subject expert.
In a tweet, Gandhi said, “Most CBSE papers so far were too difficult and the comprehension passage in the English paper was downright disgusting. Typical RSS-BJP ploys to crush the morale and future of the youth”. “Kids, do your best. Hard work pays. Bigotry doesn’t,” Gandhi said.
Most #CBSE papers so far were too difficult and the comprehension passage in the English paper was downright disgusting.
Typical RSS-BJP ploys to crush the morale and future of the youth.
Kids, do your best.
Hard work pays. Bigotry doesn’t.
— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) December 13, 2021
Various excerpts from the passage have gone viral on social media with users calling out the board for supporting “misogynistic” and “regressive opinions” and hashtag “CBSE insults women” trending on the microblogging site Twitter.
CBSE drops passage from Class-10 English exam
The CBSE, however, dropped a comprehension passage and the accompanying questions from the Class-10 English exam and decided to award full marks for it to students, following an outrage over the board allegedly promoting “gender stereotyping” and supporting “regressive notions”.
The Central Board of Secondary Education (SBSE) had referred the matter to subject experts on Sunday and sought their feedback.
CBSE Examination Controller Sanyam Bhardwaj is quoted by PTI as saying, “A passage in one set of English language and literature paper of CBSE Class-10 first-term examination held on December 11 is not in accordance with the guidelines of the board with regard to the setting of question papers.”
“In this backdrop and on the basis of the feedback received from the stakeholders, the matter was referred to a committee of subject experts. According to its recommendation, it has been decided to drop the passage and the accompanying questions,” CBSE Examination Controller added.
He further said, “Full marks will be awarded for this passage to all the students concerned. To ensure uniformity and parity, full marks will also be awarded to students for passage number one for all sets of the question paper.”
(With Agency Inputs)