Students of Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalayas (JNVs) and Kendriya Vidyalayas (KVs) may soon have their knowledge of Indian culture and values assessed, as school principals have been asked to “cooperate” with a Hardwar-based organisation that conducts such tests.
The Indian Express has accessed a circular dispatched by the Navodaya Vidyalaya Samiti to all its regional offices on October 5, stating that students of Classes VI to XII have been permitted to sit for ‘Bhartiya Sanskriti Gyan Pariksha’ conducted by the All World Gayatri Parivar and Dev Sanskriti University in Hardwar. It also mentions that the samiti will bear all expenses for conduct of the test.
Similarly, an August 30 letter sent by V Vijayalakshmi, joint commissioner (academics) at Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan to the regional office in Delhi, states that the KVs should cooperate with representatives of Dev Sanskriti University to organise the culture test for students of classes V to XII. The letter, however, clarifies that the test, scheduled on November 25 for all NCR schools, is not compulsory.
All World Gayatri Parivar was founded by Acharya Sriram Sharma with the aim of contributing to “individual development, family development and social upliftment”. It is currently headed by Pranav Pandya, who was nominated to Rajya Sabha on May 4, 2016, by then President Pranab Mukherjee on the advice of the government. Pandya, however, turned down the offer two days later.
Bhartiya Sanskriti Gyan Pariksha is an hour-long examination carrying multiple-choice questions that test a “student in moral, cultural and ancient science and technology (on which entire modern science is based) of India”.
Describing the aim of the examination, its official website states, “Schools need to strongly value ‘peaceful coexistence with people from other cultures’ and ‘pride for the country, the national anthem, and national flag’”. As per the test brochure, ‘Bhartiya Sanskrit Gyan Pariksha’ is organised in 22 states and over five crore students have appeared for the exam since 1994.
JNV and KV students of Classes V and VI will be charged Rs 20 for registration, while those in Classes VII to XII have to pay Rs 25. There are 576 JNVs and 1,128 KVs in the country. They are affiliated to the Central Board of Secondary Education and follow curriculum prepared by the NCERT. However, students willing to take the culture test will be provided study material and a question bank by All World Gayatri Parivar for preparation. It is not clear if this study material has been vetted by the Union government or NCERT.
The Indian Express went through the question bank for students of classes X, XI and XII. Here are some of the questions:
* In which cow breed do you find the surya ketu nadi?
* Name the king on whose request Narendranath adopted the name ‘Vivekananda’?
* Name Karl Marx’s most famous book
* According to Sanatan Dharma, which elements make up the human body?
* Which book mentions Akbar’s love for Gangajal?
* Why do most households in India keep a Tulsi plant?
* In which part of Quran do you find the mention of heaven and hell?
* What is described as ‘Shuddhi’ in Bhagavad Gita?
* Name the Muslim nation in which Ramcharitmanas is read?