A question asking students of a higher secondary school in Tripura to write on the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has sparked a row over allegations of ‘saffronisation’ of education.
The first part of the two-page question paper on social science in a school in Tripura’s Unakoti district started with a multiple choice question asking students to choose between ‘terror of the world’ between Benito Mussolini, Adolf Hitler and Tojo. The second part went on to ask students to write a short note on the BJP, which is the ruling party in the state. The question was mandatory and carried 3 marks.
Reacting to the issue, opposition CPI (M) state secretary Bijan Dhar said saffronisation in all sectors is not welcome. “The government and concerned department must look into it,” Dhar said.
Speaking to indianexpress.com, Abhijit Bhattacharjee, Headmaster of Srirampur Suryamani Memorial Higher Secondary School at Kailashahar said the question is “technically correct,” although “ethically, it could have been avoided”.
“This question is technically correct. I tried to understand the reason for putting up this question in the question paper from the concerned teacher as soon as it came to my attention. It turned out that the topic is a part of a chapter in the social science subject in the concerned class on Political Parties,” the Headmaster informed. He also said that since the issue has a political connotation, the question could have been avoided on ethical grounds.
Meanwhile, Tripura Board of Secondary Education Deputy Secretary Pradip Sengupta said that he would look into the syllabus to find out about the question on BJP. “We shall look into the syllabus and see what actually happened,” he said.
Tripura Congress vice president Tapas Dey criticised the question paper and said students are being exposed to narrow political motives which can damage their learning process. “Education should be kept free from political race,” Dey said.
BJP spokesperson Ashok Sinha, said, “If this was done to cover the syllabus and ask questions within it, it is fine. If it was done for political reasons, it is not fine. The decision is up to the Headmaster and political parties should not interfere in it”.
Earlier, during CPI (M) led Left Front rule in Tripura, the introduction of chapters on socialist and philosopher Karl Marx by deleting certain sections of Indian history attracted criticism. The incumbent BJP-IPFT government announced soon after assuming power on March 9 this year that the entire school course curriculum would be restructured by introducing NCERT curriculum and Central Boards of Secondary Education (CBSE) syllabus.