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, Ms. 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 a 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,” Ms. 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.
Congress MP Rahul Gandhi also criticised the passage in question. “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,” he tweeted. “Hard work pays. Bigotry doesn’t,” he added.
Soon after Ms. Gandhi’s address in the Lok Sabha, CBSE decided to drop the reading comprehension passage, saying that it was “not in accordance with the guidelines of the board”.
Full marks will be assigned to all students for passage no. 1 in the Class 10 English exam, read the CBSE’s statement.