Congress interim president Sonia Gandhi on Monday raised in the Lok Sabha the issue of the “blatantly misogynistic” and “shockingly regressive passage” in a section of a Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) Class 10 exam . She urged the education ministry to not just apologise but also conduct a thorough enquiry into how such a question, which “reflected poorly” on standards of education and testing, found its way into the paper.
The question, which appeared in the reading comprehension section of the paper on Friday last, created an outrage among parents and students alike as it contained sentences like “women gaining independence is the main reason for a wide variety of social and family problems.”
“I add my voice to these concerns of students, parents, teachers and educationists and I raise strong objection to such blatantly misogynist material finding its way into an important exam conducted by the CBSE. It reflects very poorly on the standards of education and testing and goes against the norms of a progressive and empowered society,” Ms. Gandhi said. She demanded an apology from both the ministry and the CBSE and a thorough enquiry on how this question got into the paper.
“I urge the ministry of education and the CBSE to immediately withdraw this question, issue an apology and conduct a thorough review into this egregious lapse to ensure it is never repeated again”, she stated, adding that the ministry must conduct a review on gender sensitivity standards of the curriculum and testing.
Congress MPs demanded an answer on the issue raised by her, and not getting a response, staged a walkout from the Lok Sabha. They later returned.
Right after Ms. Gandhi’s intervention, the CBSE issued a statement saying they were dropping the controversial passage and that all students would be awarded full marks for the said passage.