Chennai

Class VI questions face social media backlash

A question paper, purportedly set for Class VI students of a Central government-run school, went viral on social media on Friday. Two multiple-choice questions caused much consternation.

Question no. 17 read: “What do you mean by Dalit?” and choices for answers were: (A) Foreigners (B) Untouchables (C) Middle Class (D) Upper class. Question no. 18 read: “What is the common stereotype about Muslims?” and choices for answers were: (A) They don’t send their girls to school (B) They are pure vegetarian (C) They do not sleep at all at the time of Roza (D) All of them.

Only one page of the question paper was circulated, and it is learnt that this were based on the Class VI Social Science textbook, published in 2018-19, by the National Council of Educational Research and Training (ISBN 81-7450-511-3).

The questions are based on Chapter 2 — ‘Diversity and Discrimination’ under two subheads — ‘On being discriminated against’ (page 18) and ‘Inequality and discrimination’ (page 19). Both paragraphs are highlighted to improve understanding of misconceptions.

The paragraph on page 18 pertains to Muslims and reads: “A common stereotype about Muslims is that they are not interested in educating girls and therefore do not send girls to school. However, studies have now shown that poverty amongst Muslims is an important reason why Muslim girls do not attend school or drop out from school after a few years. Wherever effort has been made to reach education to the poor, there the Muslim community has shown an interest in sending their girls to school.” The para further cites Kerala as a success model, where proximity of schools to houses improved girls’ attendance and job opportunities. The para ends: “Therefore, poverty, not religion, is the cause for non-attendance of Muslim girls in school.”

Similarly, on page 19, the para on Dalits reads: “Dalit is a term that people belonging to so called lower castes use to address themselves. They prefer this word to ‘untouchable’. Dalit means those who have been ‘broken’. This word, according to Dalits, shows how social prejudices and discrimination have ‘broken’ the Dalit people. The government refers to this group of people as Scheduled Castes (SC).”

The Deputy Commissioner of Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan in the city said he checked with the schools and none had asked such questions. He said it could be any school that uses the NCERT textbook.


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Printable version | Sep 18, 2021 11:26:50 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/class-vi-questions-face-social-media-backlash/article29356184.ece

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