The CBSE on Monday dropped a comprehension passage and the accompanying questions from the Class-10 English exam paper and decided to award full marks for it to students, following an outrage over the board allegedly promoting "gender stereotyping" and supporting "regressive notions".
The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) had referred the matter to subject experts on Sunday and sought their feedback.
In the Class-10 exam conducted on Saturday, the question paper carried a comprehension passage with sentences such as "emancipation of women destroyed the parents' authority over the children" and "it was only by accepting her husband's way that a mother could gain obedience over the younger ones", among others.
Excerpts from the passage have gone viral on social media platforms with users calling out the board for supporting "misogynistic" and "regressive opinions" and the hashtag "#CBSEinsultswomen" trending on Twitter.
"A passage in one set of the English language and literature paper of the CBSE Class-10 first-term examination held on December 11 is not in accordance with the guidelines of the board with regard to the setting of question papers.
"In this backdrop and on the basis of the feedback received from the stakeholders, the matter was referred to a committee of subject experts. According to the panel's recommendation, it has been decided to drop the passage and the accompanying questions," CBSE Examination Controller Sanyam Bhardwaj said.
"Full marks will be awarded for this passage to all the students concerned. To ensure uniformity and parity, full marks will also be awarded to students for passage number one for all sets of the question paper," he added.
The CBSE issued a statement on Sunday, saying, "The passage in one set of the English paper of CBSE Class-10 first-term examination held on December 11 has received mixed reactions from a few parents and students stating that 'it seems to support regressive notions on family and allegedly promotes gender stereotyping'."
"The matter will be referred to subject experts for considered views as per the preset procedures of the board. As regards the correct answer option and the answer key released by the board, it is clarified that if the experts opine that the passage elicits multiple interpretations, appropriate action will be taken to protect the interest of the students," the board had said.
The CBSE Class-12 sociology exam held earlier this month asked students to name the political party under which the "anti-Muslim violence in Gujarat in 2002" took place, a question the board later said was "inappropriate" and against its guidelines.