“I am a dog. I am a big dog. I have pups. I have six pups.” This is what kindergarten kids in Kashmir are being taught this season, as a part of textbook prescribed by some English medium schools in the Valley.
The colored page of the English textbook for UKG asks students to recite the sentences as part of their reading practice. Experts say, as per the “teaching-learning process”, the students are made to recite such sentences loudly and repeatedly so that they learn it by heart.
But this controversial content has outraged the Kashmiri people while educationists are equally up in arms. Noted educationist, Dr Showkat Ahmed Zadoo thinks that the content intends to “bankrupt the kids’ minds”.
“Is a child a dog? What concepts are they giving? This is a deliberate attempt to give an impression to the child that he or she is a dog and when this student grows, it will remain embedded in his or her mind that there’s no difference between humans and dogs.”
Dr Zadoo added that this is against cultural, social, human, and moral values. “This is against the basic concepts of education given by Gandhi.”
Given the public outrage, which has spilled over to social media, the private schools plan to discard the book. President of the Private Schools Association in Kashmir, GN War said that the matter has come to their notice. “We have already constituted a committee of experts to review all books prescribed by various schools for all standards, and we look ahead to bring uniformity.”
Chairman JK State Board of School Education, Dr Zahoor Ahmed Chat said that it’s “really unfortunate” that such wrong sentences are being taught to children. “How can this happen that a child is made to say ‘I am a dog’. We’ll look into the matter.”