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Tuesday, June 29, 1999 Published at 09:52 GMT 10:52 UK


Chinese 'slur' wins apology

The paper was sat by pupils all over Scotland

Scotland's schools examinations body has apologised to the Chinese community after racist words were used in an exam paper.

The words "Chinky" and "Who Flung Dung" in an interpretation passage in this year's Standard Grade English paper sparked a welter of complaints.

Members of the Chinese community were deeply offended at the content of the paper, which was sat by children across Scotland.

The letter of apology sent to the Tayside Racial Equality Council (TREC) accepts that the complaints were "fully justified".

Exam checklist

Signed by SQA Awards Division Director David Elliot, the letter states: "SQA is committed to the principles of equal opportunities and as part of this policy we issue a checklist designed to avoid cultural, racial or religious bias in examination tasks.

"While I understand that the setters selected the passage with the aim of stimulating the interest of young people, it was an error of judgement for which SQA must accept responsibility.

"We apologise unreservedly for the distress caused to candidates.

"In order to ensure that it does not happen again, we have sought the advice of the Commission for Racial Equality on how our guidance to setters might be improved."

Words 'misrepresentative'

The Chinese Associations of Scotland believed that in the context of the exam the excerpt came across as misrepresentative of Oriental people in this country.

Equality Council Chairman Dudley Kay said he was pleased to receive the apology but stressed: "We would like to have a representative on the education committee so that we can solve any problems before they are allowed to go this far.

"This would bring an end to the prospect of causing further embarrassment to ethnic minorities such as that which befell the Chinese community in this instance."

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