‘Antonym for tree, opposite of 60’: Questions leave UP students stumped

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Ever thought of an antonym for ‘tree’ or the opposite of 60? The students in the state-run schools in Uttar Pradesh are facing weird questions in their ongoing annual examinations.

A Hindi question paper in a Prayagraj school asked the Class 5 students the opposite of ‘ped’ (tree), while an English question paper in Bhadohi district asked the Class 7 students to write the opposite of 60.

Class 5 students in Prayagraj were asked to identify the rectangle among the figures in an English question paper.

While it was bizarre to have a mathematics question in an English paper, the fact that the choices for this question had no figures.

The issue has now snowballed into a major controversy and a probe has now been ordered into the matter.

Director General, school education, Anamika Singh said, “Despite Covid and elections, we managed to hold annual examinations after two years. I have directed the UPBEC secretary to examine issues related to questions and take appropriate action on the same.”

Sanjay Kanaujiya, an office-bearer of the UP Junior High School Teachers’ Association, meanwhile, said, “The examinations are being held to assess the level of understanding of lessons by the students. But, the purpose behind the exercise is lost.”

The responsibility to prepare question papers for the exams is given to the basic shiksha adhikari (BSA) who rope in teachers at the District Institute of Education and Technology (DIET) for paper setting.

Ideally, the papers should be prepared on the model prepared by the State Council of Educational Research and Training (SCERT).

Over 1.6 crore students, enrolled in 1.3 lakh schools recognised by UPBEC, are appearing in these examinations.

“An error-free question paper can ensure proper evaluation. Even though no student can fail till Class 8, these silly errors point fingers at the standard one is setting before the students and teachers,” said a senior education official.

He added that question papers should be moderated to ensure accuracy.

Schools in several districts have also reported shortage of question papers besides printing errors. “We got only three papers for a Class of 50 students. So, we were compelled to write the questions on the black board. Printing errors are common,” said a teacher in Gorakhpur.

Teachers said they have no clarity on how a wrong question should be treated. “We have no idea as to whether we should award full marks to the wrong question or whether it stands cancelled. Exams in the government schools are just a formality as there are directives to promote all students to the next class,” said a teacher.

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