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Board assures action for denigrating Goa in SSC English paper

Panaji: Stating that the derogatory views about Goa as well as anti-nationalist sentiments expressed in the English language paper of the ongoing SSC examination do not reflect its views, the Goa Board of Secondary and Higher Secondary Education on Sunday said that due action would be taken on the paper setter as well as chief paper setter responsible for the same.

The exam for the particular paper was conducted on May 23, with over 19,000 students appearing for the same.

The particular paper presents a discussion between two friends, Rayson and Kedan, in turn asking the students to report what was said by these two friends by using appropriate reporting verbs. The discussion goes as follows:

“What are your future plans my friend?” (Rayson to Kedan)

“I have applied for a Portuguese passport as there are few job opportunities in Goa.”

(Kedan to Rayson)

“You have taken the right decision. Without influence and money, it’s very difficult for Goans to get jobs in Goa.” (Rayson to Kedan)

Furthermore, an earlier question in the particular question paper includes a sentence, “Corruption has affected Goans in Goa”, asking the students to change the voice of the sentence.

A senior Goa Board official maintained that the Goa Board places full trust in the paper setters with the hope that they would set the papers within the framework of its guidelines.

“Also unlike in other states, the Goa Board has a chief paper setter, who checks the papers set for the Board exam and decides if anything should be rejected or removed from these papers,” the Goa Board official stated, lamenting that this time, however, the paper setter of the English language paper as well as the chief paper setter have let the Goa Board down. “We are very much shocked to see that even the chief paper setter has not understood the implication of this matter published in the question paper,” the Goa Board official said, adding that if some ethical, some patriotic matter was given in the paper, then the students could have taken it with them and used in their future life.

Leader of the Opposition, Digambar Kamat, reacting to this blunder said, “This question in the English language paper of SSC examination is a reflection of current situation in Goa under the BJP rule.”

“(There are) no job opportunities here and then step-motherly treatment (is given) to those, who go abroad for earning bread and butter, and contribute to our economy,” he added, pointing out, “(I) hope the Chief Minister takes note.”

Meanwhile, general secretary of the Bharatiya Janata Party Narendra Sawaikar said that the paper setter, who is employed in Goa and draws salaries from the taxes paid by Goans, is attempting to pollute children, and, therefore, the Goa Board should debar the paper setter and the scrutiniser as well as others associated in the paper setting exercise.

Former speaker of the Goa legislative assembly and senior BJP leader Rajendra Arlekar denounced the objectionable content in the paper and said that “an anti-national feeling is being inserted into the students” through such an act.

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