Dipu Moni vows action over 'religiously insensitive' question in HSC exam

A question involving a land dispute among Hindu brothers and an Eid-ul-Azha sacrifice was criticised for being insensitive to religious sensibilities

Staff Correspondentbdnews24.com
Published : 7 Nov 2022, 08:42 AM
Updated : 7 Nov 2022, 08:42 AM

Education Minister Dipu Moni says that action will be taken after a question in a Higher Secondary Certificate examination was identified as ‘inflammatory to communal tensions’.

“It is unfortunate that a question like this set by a person somehow skipped the scrutiny of the moderator,” she said at an event at Dhaka’s International Mother Language Institute on Monday following criticism of a question on the HSC Bangla first paper.

“We are identifying the person who set the question and the moderator and will take action accordingly.”

The HSC exams for the year kicked off with the Bangla first paper on Sunday.

The 11th question on the creative section of the Dhaka Education Board’s exam was about two Hindu brothers involved in a land dispute.

The question states that the younger brother sold off a piece of land to a Muslim buyer to wreak vengeance on the elder brother. The Muslim buyer then began living on the land and slaughtered a cow there as part of his religious observance of Eid-ul-Azha. The question goes on to say that the younger brother, brokenhearted by the incident, then left his land and moved to India.

Dipu Moni said that those setting the exam were given clear instructions on what they should keep in mind while making question papers.

“The instructions absolutely state that the questions must be free from communal issues."

“Bangladesh is a secular country. If an exam in Bangladesh includes a question that inflames communal tensions, it is extremely unfortunate. It is unacceptable.”

“Those we identify and those who try to cultivate such ideas in our students cannot be allowed to engage in such activity [setting questions for public exams].”

The HSC technical board also suspended its exam for the Bangla-1 paper on Sunday due to errors in the question paper.

The issue was due to a mix-up between the old and new syllabi, the education minister said.

“I don’t think that the error was due to the education board,” Dipu Moni said. “We believe that when the question papers were being printed an error was introduced at one stage. The error may also have been introduced during the packaging stage.”

The education minister also tried to offer an explanation about why the errors happened, citing the strict way the government handles question papers for public exams.

“Neither the person who sets the questions nor the person who moderates them can see the final questions printed for exams,” she said.

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