Punjab: Pension scheme question in Class V paper sparks row
An advertisement and questions related to the social security pension scheme of the Punjab government found mention in a Class V question paper, drawing sharp reactions from a teachers' body and the opposition SAD and AAP. "The government advertisement on raising social security pension was inserted in the Punjabi subject paper and then questions relevant to it were asked," said a teacher on Monday.
Exam was conducted to prepare students for NAS
The exam for Class V, to prepare students for the National Achievement Survey (NAS), began on Monday. The NAS, aimed to assess learning achievement, will be conducted in November. One of the questions asked to the students was, "What is this advertisement about?" Another question was "When did the distribution of the hiked social security pension begin?"
Government is trying to publicize its scheme: Teachers' body
The Congress-led government in Punjab had earlier announced raising the social security pension from Rs. 750 per month to Rs. 1,500 per month. Democratic Teachers' Front (Punjab) president Vikram Dev Singh condemned the insertion of an advertisement in the question paper and accused the government of trying to publicize its schemes through student examinations. "It is totally wrong. We condemn it," he said.
'Question papers are not meant for poll campaigning'
Another senior teacher told The Indian Express, "Elections are here and now Punjab government is publicizing its schemes via question papers of primary school children. Question papers of schoolchildren are not meant for poll campaigning." Notably, Punjab assembly elections will be held next year.
Let education remain education: SAD leader
Shiromani Akali Dal's senior leader and former education minister Daljit Singh Cheema dubbed the insertion of an advertisement pertaining to a welfare scheme in a question paper as an unethical practice. "Let education remain education. Tomorrow you will start giving government advertisements and putting photos of ministers in school textbooks and then there is no end to it," Cheema said slamming the state government.
These cheap tricks will not get Congress anywhere: AAP
Notably, the AAP, the main opposition party in Punjab, also lambasted the state government over the issue. "This is the height of shameless publicity. @capt_amarinder what are you trying to do? You are not even sparing children of the state from your false propaganda. These cheap tricks will not get you and your party anywhere," AAP leader Harpal Singh Cheema said in a tweet.
Here is what Cheema tweeted
This is height of shameless publicity. @capt_amarinder what are you trying to do? You are not even sparing children of the state from your false propaganda. These cheap tricks will not get you and your party anywhere. pic.twitter.com/NeBfjyrqDf— Adv Harpal Singh Cheema (@HarpalCheemaMLA) September 13, 2021