After motormouth politicians and self-proclaimed godmen blamed chowmein for rape, now, the country’s highest education monitoring authority — the University Grants Commission (UGC) — is facing flak for seemingly sexist, absurd questions set for their recently-conducted National Eligibility Test, the entrance test to become a university lecturer.
A question in the Teaching Aptitude section read: At primary school stage, most teachers should be women because...? And one of the multiple choice answer options to the question was: ‘Because women are available on lower salaries.’ That wasn’t all. There was also a question that read: Bee — Honey; Cow — Milk; Teacher — ?
Not just the examinees but even educationists, women right activists and celebs across the country feel that it’s a rather callous job to put such bizarre answer options, that too in a national level exam.
“I think they set these questions without applying their minds. Especially at a time when we are struggling to change mindsets, such things only perpetuate gender stereotypes. I can’t believe that it’s this same UGC that’s pressurising colleges to be women-friendly!” says Dr Charu Walikhanna, member of National Commission for Women.
Educationist and Hindu College principal Pradyumn Kumar feels that the people setting such questions should immediately be disqualified from their posts. “Such answers are preposterous. There has to be an accountability for such a sloppy job. Great care should be taken to select the people who set questions for such prestigious national level tests. I took this exam way back in the 80s, and we had far more sensible questions.”
Dancer, teacher and chairperson of the Censor Board, Leela Samson feels that having such irrational answer options is “sheer callousness”. “It’s absolutely atrocious to put such an answer option! This is nothing but a careless job,” says Samson.