Class 7 question paper in Bihar lists Kashmir as separate country; authorities blame 'printing error'

In a major embarrassment for the Bihar Education Project Council (BEPC), a Class VII question paper prepared by it, reportedly described Kashmir as a separate country from India, a media report said.

Representational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

The question paper, which was circulated in all government schools across the state, asked students to name what the people of five countries — China, Nepal, England, Kashmir, and India — are called, according to a report from The Times of India.

The error came to light when a student of Vaishali district pointed it out. The report quotes Vaishali district education officer Sangeeta Sinha saying that she was on leave when the incident took place, but she will look into the matter.

In a report from Hindustan Times, BEPC project director Sanjay Kumar Singh said that an option of 'states' was supposed to be printed.

“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,” Singh said.

In total, around 1,300 question papers were prepared in the question bank for assessment and all procedures for verification through experts and the State Council for Educational Research and Training (SCERT) were followed, he added.

BEPC is responsible for structuring and improving the elementary education system in Bihar, as per its website. The BEPC is also the agency responsible for the implementation of the universal education programme, the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, under the Right to Education (RTE) act in over 71,000 government schools in the state.

The state's education authorities, however, are no stranger to controversies. The dismal state of education in Bihar have been brought to the fore time and again.

The Bihar School Examination Board (BSEB) was embarrassed in national media, when Ruby Rai, who had topped Class XII exams in 2016 named one of the subjects she studied as 'prodigal science' in a TV interview, which she said was about cooking. Rai, apparently, was referring to the subject Political Science.

Later, a forensic test confirmed that Rai never wrote the papers which fetched her top grades. According to a report in NDTV, she wrote names of movies in one answer sheet, the name of poet Tulsidas more than a hundred times in another and poetry in some others, which were then replaced by papers written by experts, to help her ace the exam.

Then in 2017 again, Class XII topper in humanities struggled to explain the basics of music, one of his subjects. Ganesh Kumar, who topped Class XII boards in the humanities stream, stumbled over queries posed by the media on music, in which he scored 65 out of 70 in practicals. He seemed to have a difficult time explaining what is sur, taal and matra, considered the basics of music. This was the state when a whopping 64 percent of students had failed the board exams in 2017.

Another news report in Gulf News states that nearly 83 percent of Bihar schoolteachers failed an eligibility test conducted by the Bihar School Education Board to check the quality of middle-school level teachers.

Before this, the state board was shamed globally after images of candidates' relatives, scaling school walls to aide cheating, went viral on the internet.

Updated Date: Oct 11, 2017 18:18 PM

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