A SCHOOL in the West Midlands has apologised and removed a school workbook from its website following protests over a reference to terrorism and “vexatious” misinformation within a section on Hinduism.
Angry parents and Hindu groups took to social media and highlighted segments of the text, which had made references to the ‘Mahabharata’, and war being justified in order to “preserve dharma”.
The Hindu Forum of Britain (HFB) wrote to examinations authority AQA, and called for urgent action.
“The statement regarding Hinduism in the section on ‘Religious beliefs, teachings, and attitudes about the meaning and significance of justice’ on page 4 is completely misrepresented, vexatious, inaccurate and meant to teach wrong beliefs about Hindus to impressionable children,” HFB chair of religious education Dr Ramesh Pattni said in the letter.
“We suspect that there may be a political agenda behind how Hindu beliefs and practices have been portrayed in your workbook, especially in relation to another religion.”
Langley School in Solihull said on Wednesday (7) that the document, ‘GCSE Religious Studies: Religion Peace and Conflict Workbook’, had been “purchased externally several years ago”, and removed from circulation.
“We can assure you that it is not used in school,” it added in a statement. “The resource was immediately removed from our website. We apologise for any offence caused.”
The workbook, which falls under the Religious Studies module for GCSE Year 10-11 stage pupils.
AQA also clarified that it did not produce or approve “the workbook that’s been shared on social media, and our logo was used on it without our permission”.
“Some of the material in it seems to have come from a textbook – we’ve spoken to the publisher, which has withdrawn the book from sale while it addresses the issue,” said a spokesperson.
Hindu Council UK said it had received a complaint from a father, who sent screenshots from a book his son was using in Cumbria in north-west England, and written to the school authorities urging an investigation.
“Happy to see action being taken,” it added in a statement. “However, sadly this workbook is in use by many schools in England and now will create false image of Hinduism in young minds.”
The controversial text used in the workbook seemed to have been copied from a textbook published by Hodder that had been withdrawn from sale, said reports.