Controversial HSC question paper: Unwarranted and distasteful

The Bengali question paper of Higher Secondary Certificate exam (HSC) of Dhaka Board has created much controversy.

People came to know about the content of the said question when the question of Bangla first paper exam, held last Sunday, went viral on social media. Dhaka Education Board authorities have shown utter irresponsibility by adding a part of creative questions in Bangla first paper.

The story of Nepal and Gopal mentioned in the question paper ignited questions of its relevance in the context of Bangladesh. Through this question, the board authorities have incited communalism, and labelled the country gained through the liberation war as a communal state, which is unwarranted and unacceptable.

We are not implying that there are no communal issues in Bangladesh. Every country in the subcontinent has communal problems. But at the moment the condition of Bangladesh is better than others. But the way an incident is symbolised through various characters in the question paper, it does not portray the reality.

We are not aware of any such incident in Bangladesh. Such questions will create a negative impression in the minds of young students, increase doubts. Academics have raised questions about how such a sectarian question was made. Questions have also been raised about the competence of those who prepare the question papers.

Meanwhile, a controversy has also arisen over a question paper of Bangla- second paper (Creative) exam in the HSC (BM) examination under the Board of Technical Education. There, a fiction writer is denigrated, which is essentially malicious. The exam was held on Sunday. Those who are in responsible positions in these institutions, their skills and qualifications are questionable.

Dhaka Education Board chairman Tapan Kumar Sarkar told Prothom Alo that those who prepared the question paper and the moderators have been identified. They are college teachers under Jashore Education Board. According to sources in the Ministry of Education, the teacher who made this question paper works at a college in Maheshpur, Jhenaidah.

Among the four moderators, two are teachers from two colleges in Narail and the other two are teachers from a college in Satkhira and another from a college in Bheramara in Kushtia. Teachers have certainly shown irresponsibility in preparing question papers but what did the board officials do? If anyone violates the rules in preparing the question paper, the question should be rejected. The board authorities should explain how the question paper got final approval.

A high-level committee should be formed to look into the whole matter. Legal action should be taken against the responsible persons.

It must be ensured that such communally provocative questions do not reach the hands of the students. It is not right to put the blame on the teacher who prepared the question or moderator. Moderators, who are supposed to supervise, should also be held accountable.