Excerpts from a Class IV environmental science textbook that suggest students to “kill a kitten” as part of an experiment have gone viral on social media, forcing the publisher to withdraw it from the market.
The textbook, titled “Our Green World: Environment Studies”, published by PP Publications, has a lesson in which the children are instructed to kill a kitten as part of an experiment to know the difference between living and non-living beings.
“Take two wooden boxes. Make holes on lid of one box. Put a small kitten in each box. Close the boxes. After some time open the boxes. What do you see? The kitten inside the box without the holes has died,” the textbook reads.
The excerpt has attracted the ire of animal activists and education experts on social media, kick-starting a debate on the lack of scrutiny of curriculum taught to children.
The publisher has tendered an apology to the Federation of Indian Animal Protection Organisations (FIAPO) and informed that the book has been withdrawn from the distributors.
This experiment is a part of the 4th grade curriculum in a reputed school in Delhi. WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK?! pic.twitter.com/g6dwHNWqAD— Lola Kuttiamma (@Priya_Menon) February 2, 2017
“It has come to our notice that some facts about kittens in one of the chapters in our book have not been correctly presented. We sincerely regret and condemn the same,” the letter by Parvesh Gupta, the publisher, reads.
“We have withdrawn the book from the distributors and will not sell the existing stock as well. We will not reprint the same material from the next academic year and be more careful and serious while publishing anything on pets and animals.
“We assure that our content will not hurt the sentiments of students, teachers, parents and public in general and will be free from any illegal and unethical action,” he said.
This is not the only incident of controversial texts in school curriculum.
Recently, there was another incident in Pune where a Class 12 Sociology book cited “ugliness” and physical disability of a girl as a reason behind the dowry issue prevalent in the country.
“If a girl is ugly and handicapped, then it becomes very difficult for her to get married. To marry such girls, bridegroom and his family demand more dowry. Parents of such girls become helpless and pay dowry as per the demands of the bridegroom as family. It leads to rise in the practice of dowry system,” the textbook reads.