These days, nothing can escape the scrutiny of people, even the exam questions. From language to inherent sexism and political motivation, here’s a few instances when exam bodies were in trouble for asking controversial questions.
1. The English paper of Class 10 CBSE exam had a comprehension passage with sentences such as “emancipation of women destroyed the parents’ authority over the children”.
This is what the ending paragraph of the comprehension passage read:
What people were slow to observe was that the emancipation of the wife destroyed the parent’s authority over the children. The mother did not exemplify the obedience upon which she still tried to insist… In bringing the man down from his pedestal the wife and the mother deprived herself, in fact of the means of discipline.
The passage was called out for being offensive to women.
#CBSE really did the most with the class 10 English paper.— mooncakes (@anureeetkaur) December 12, 2021
Here’s a passage given to literal 14-15 year olds:
“What people were slow to observe was that the emancipation of the wife destroyed the parents authority over the children”
Man just say women in power scare you. pic.twitter.com/3bsEnIzqRD
Class 10 CBSE English paper today says children and servants must be taught their place and women gaining some independence destroyed parents authority over children. Entire passage is so stupid. Who are these idiots setting question paper in CBSE? pic.twitter.com/txTRsL1Knx— Jayaram Venkatesan (@JayaramArappor) December 11, 2021
Following widespread criticism, CBSE decided to drop the question and award full marks to all students.
As the passage in one set of question paper in class X English Exam is not in accordance with guidelines of the board with regard to setting of question papers, it has been decided to drop the question and award full marks to the students for this passage . pic.twitter.com/IHfoUJSy2O— CBSE HQ (@cbseindia29) December 13, 2021
2. Another question asked in CBSE class 12 Sociology exam asked students to name the political party under which the Gujarat riots of 2002 took place.
The below question will shock you!— Mahesh Vikram Hegde 🇮🇳 (@mvmeet) December 1, 2021
“The unprecedented scale and spread of anti-muslim violence in Gujarat in 2022 took place under which government?”
This is a question from CBSE class 12 Sociology paper
Yet another day in ‘secular’ India pic.twitter.com/PT4VjXWGIP
Shocked !!— रिधिमा त्रिपाठी 🇮🇳All India Nationalist Group (@RidhimaTripath4) December 4, 2021
To see this question from CBSE , class 12th Sociology paper
“The unprecedented scale and spread of anti-muslim violence in Gujarat in 2002 took place under which government?”
Shhhh …We are SECULAR !!! pic.twitter.com/2GG38mJC2o
Following criticism, the board issued an apology and promised that strict action will be taken against those responsible.
A question has been asked in today’s class 12 sociology Term 1 exam which is inappropriate and in violation of the CBSE guidelines for external subject experts for setting question papers.CBSE acknowledges the error made and will take strict action against the responsible persons— CBSE HQ (@cbseindia29) December 1, 2021
3. In 2019, UPSC was criticised for asking a question on the ‘challenges to our cultural practices in the name of secularism’.
The question appeared in General Studies I paper of Civil Services Mains exam.
What are the challenges to our cultural practices in the name of secularism?
“Indian secularism is a positive concept, taking along and encouraging all the cultural practices while instilling a scientific temper against superstitions and harmful practices.”, would have been the first sentence of my answer! https://t.co/MUsCYlh0OZ— Kannan Gopinathan (@naukarshah) September 22, 2019
4. A question in a Kerala state literacy exam asked ‘if minorities a threat to the unity and integrity of the country’.
The question occurred in state literacy mission’s second year Higher Secondary equivalency exam for Sociology.
Are minorities a threat to the unity and integrity of the country? Explain.
5. An exam to recruit sub-inspectors for Haryana Police asked questions on personal lives of political leaders.
For instance, there was a question: What is the best quality of minister Anil Vij? The answer options were, Vij is highly educated, he has been a home minister before, he is unmarried or he has served as a police officer.
6. A question in the reasoning part of Paper I of UGC NET drew controversy for trivialising untouchability.
Paper 1, UGC NET, January 2017.— Aaaargh (@jimmy9_girl) January 24, 2017
Dalits are not hot pans, people. Such a Shame, this is our UGC. pic.twitter.com/9ZfjCQpO6K
A lot of effort goes into formulating exam papers but even then such controversies rise time and again.