While measures have been taken and the board has assured students will get full marks after the passage was pulled, this is disappointing at the Std X level
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A comprehension passage in the Std X CBSE English question paper triggered a storm of protest and outrage for gender stereotyping and a regressive view.
The passage was rightfully dropped but some of the statements were shocking to say the least. Some of the lines in the comprehension passage had read: ‘What people were slow to observe was that the emancipation of the wife destroyed the parents’ authority over the children.’ Another read: ‘In bringing the man down from his pedestal, the wife and the mother deprived herself in fact, of the means of discipline.’ While measures have been taken and the board has assured students will get full marks after the passage was pulled, this is disappointing at the Std X level.
These lines, too, are absolutely regressive at a time when students need to have their world opened up. Today, we are debating gay rights, gay marriage, same sex couple families and not putting men or women into boxes or old, conformist gender roles. We are talking not just about women’s rights but human rights as a whole. We are debating whether the unit as family should exist as it did for years, or is it time to re-think conventional patterns.
This is not to say that anybody is calling for the disintegration of society. We are in question and debate, dissect or dissent mode. The students may or may not agree with certain concepts but it is important we inculcate a spirit of healthy inquiry rather than reinforce tired tropes that can also be dangerous, given that this is such an impressionable age.
Let us weigh these exam papers more thoroughly. Let us teach youngsters to respect differences, diversity and other opinions. Power to education that teaches us the value of thinking out of the box.