A question paper for seventh graders in Bihar’s government schools appears to have suggested that Kashmir was a country, with officials blaming it on a printing error, reported Hindustan Times.
“What are the people in the following countries called?”, was the question given to Class 7 students during the half-yearly assessment test given by Bihar education project council (BEPC). The four options included China, Nepal, England, Kashmir and India.
BEPC project director Sanjay Kumar Singh said the error appeared to have occurred due to an omitted word.
“In fact, the original question had “countries/states”. It is also given in the same format in the book, as also in the original question. Somehow, ‘states’ was omitted during printing and remained undetected. But it should not have happened,” said Singh, adding there were around 1,300 question papers prepared in the question bank for organising assessment – first of its kind in the country for schools.
Singh said procedures for verification through experts and state council for educational research and training (SCERT) were followed.
The BEPC is the agency responsible for the implementation of the universal education programme, the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, under the right to education (RTE) act.
According to the RTE, students do not need to pass examinations to move up a class, but Bihar is experimenting a twice-a-year assessment system to improve standards.
Maintaining that it was not a test, but an assessment, he said it was basically aimed at getting a hang of students’ learning level, so that teachers could work accordingly. “As for the lapse, we will be more cautious from next time,” he added.
Bihar has around 71,000 government schools where the assessment is going on.
This is in addition to the monthly assessment that BEPC has introduced without the frills of examination.
A majority of Bihar school students are taking the bi-annual assessment test, which started on Oct 5 and concludes on October 11, without textbooks since printing was not completed six months after the session began in April.
In view of the delay, the BEPC also started an initiative to recycle the old books collected from students moving to another class, but succeeded in just having 30 per cent of them.