The DAV group of schools has issued a statement amid a raging controversy over a question in their exam paper, labelling the farmers protesting in Delhi as ‘violent maniacs’. The question appeared in the second revision examination of an English language paper held for students of Class 10 of DAV Boys Senior Higher Secondary School in Gopalapuram, Chennai.
“We have received feedback from various stakeholders –parents, alumni, teachers and the general public. Ours being a diverse country, it has not been surprising that the feedback has also been quite diverse –from expletive-laden hate messages to solemn support for the institution that has been providing high quality, value-based, affordable education over the last 50 years. The specifically highlighted wordings of the question framed by a teacher do not reflect the institution. However, we do take pride in constantly striving towards making education relevant, contemporary and contextual. We strongly believe in the need to nurture independent thinking amongst children and also abide by the principle and ethos as enshrined in the Indian constitution,” the statement read.
The response from the school comes a couple of days after the screenshot of the exam paper led to furore on social media, with many claiming that the school had shamed the protesting farmers by labelling them as ‘miscreants’ and ‘violent maniacs’.
In Section B of the controversial question paper, the students were asked to write a letter to an Editor of a daily newspaper in their city, condemning the farmers for their protest.
This is a sample fm a Class X English paper of a popular Chennai school. The incident and the much larger farm bills issue is still being discussed but here this is being said ‘violent maniacs under external instigation’ pic.twitter.com/N27ooheHJV
— T M Krishna (@tmkrishna) February 19, 2021
“The diabolical violence that broke out in the national capital on Republic Day filled the hearts of the citizens with condemnation and abhorrence after the Farm law protestors went on a rampage, destroying public property and attacking police personnel in broad daylight. Write a letter to the Editor of a daily newspaper in your city, condemning such terrible, violent acts of miscreants who fail to realise that country comes before personal needs and gains. Destroying public property, disgracing the national flag and attacking police personnel are few of the various illegal offences committed, that can never be justified for any reason whatsoever. Suggest few measures from your end to thwart such violent maniacs who act under external instigation,” the question read.
Activists and others supporting the farmers’ protest lashed out at the school saying that the question paper reads more like a propaganda piece that is designed to malign the agitating food growers and portray them as violent attackers to impressionable children.
Is this an English language examination paper or do we now have exams on ‘How to Write Propaganda’? DAV School Gopalapuram pls clarify…. pic.twitter.com/NPTn40mNUL
A former member of the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Committee even sent a legal notice to the Tamil Nadu Arya Samraj Educational Society in Chennai, seeking an apology from the DAV school that it runs.
Several former DAV students also came together and wrote to the school’s director and the Board Members of the Arya Samaj Educational Trust which runs the institution, expressing their disappointment in the matter. In the letter, the students termed the controversial question as ‘inappropriate’.
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“A question like this shows many in poor light — not just the decision-makers involved, but also by association, the large number of students who call DAV as their alma mater. It also raises concerns about the core values and mindsets being inculcated in students,” the letter read.
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