“MODI SERVED as the Chief Minister of Gujrat for the four terms… As a spoker he is known as a craod-puller. He is the most sovy political leader of India.” How many spelling mistakes are there in these two sentences?
Unfortunately, that was not the question asked of Class X students appearing for their half-yearly English exam in government schools in Jaipur under the Rajasthan Board for Secondary Education (RBSE). The mistakes — there were many more — were in the question itself. And they have left education officials in Rajasthan red-faced.
Covering Modi’s life in brief, the passage says, “He used to help his father in selling tea”, and that his swearing-in was a “first of its kind” as he “invited all SAARC leaders”. It also refers to Modi joining the RSS at the age of eight and leaving home at 17. “He became RSS Pracharak,” states the next line. It describes Modi as a “vegetarian”, a “workaholic” and an “introvert” who “writes poems but in Gujrati”.
Some of the questions that followed this passage were no different in style and substance: “How can you say that he is a poet?” “Why was his swearing in ceremony first of his kind?”
The next passage — on a “little boy” — was followed by this question: “What kind of the boy was?”
The question paper, with 70 marks, was also riddled with spelling mistakes: obese was “obessed”, violence was “voilence”.
When contacted, RBSE chairman B L Chaudhary said, “We don’t conduct the half-yearly examination. It is conducted independently by district education authorities.”
Jaipur District Education Officer Ratan Singh Yadav said, “I will get this examined by our expert committee… Usually, there are printing errors, but there seem to be many in this case. The children should not suffer. We have provisions for bonus marks if a question is incorrect.”
The Opposition Congress, meanwhile, highlighted the passage on the Prime Minister and accused the education department of having become a “medium” for BJP propaganda. Congress state president Sachin Pilot alleged that the “revision” of school curriculum was an attempt by the BJP government to influence youth through “blatant promotion” of its ideology.
Denying the allegation, district official Yadav said, “If something has been asked out of syllabus, we will get it examined by experts… teachers and officials enrolled with the department prepared the question paper and their identity is confidential.”
A government school principal in Jaipur, speaking on condition of anonymity, said, “I don’t recall seeing so many errors in a question paper.”
Last month, Jaipur education officials had asked government and private schools in the city to take their students to a Hindu spiritual and service fair, where books and pamphlets on “Love Jihad”, “Christian conspiracies”, etc. were distributed and sold.