U for ‘Ugly’, says alphabet book; 2 teachers suspended in Bengal

June 12, 2020

The West Bengal government has suspended two women teachers in East Burdwan district on the charge of teaching pre-primary students from an English alphabet book consisting of a portion derogatory to the people with a dark complexion.

While presenting the alphabets with corresponding words and images, the book says U is for "Ugly". The illustration printed beside the letter is that of a boy with a dark complexion.

"The book is not part of the textbooks referred by the education department. It was introduced by the school itself. We have zero-tolerance for acts which instil prejudices into the minds of students," Education Minister Partha Chatterjee told reporters here on Thursday.

He said the two teachers of a local municipality-run school have been placed under suspension with immediate effect based on a preliminary investigation and stricter action would be taken against them later.

Though the school is now closed because of the lockdown, the matter came to light when the father of a student of the school was teaching him with the help of that book. He informed other parents and the education department was apprised of the issue, sources said.


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