The minister, who holds an MBA degree, says he was testing the ability of schoolchildren to detect spelling errors.
Gujarat minister Shankar Chaudhary misspelt the word ‘elephant’ while teaching students during a school enrolment drive launched by the government, but later claimed the error was ‘intentional’.
The incident took place on Thursday when Chaudhary visited a government-run primary school in Deesa town of Banaskantha district, around 150km from Ahmedabad, as part of the Shala Praveshotsav (school enrolment drive) of the government, a programme carried out every year.
The episode came to light when a picture showing him writing a wrong spelling of elephant while teaching English as part of the drive went viral on social media.
The minister of state for urban housing, health and transport, in the picture, is seen writing ‘elephent’ instead of ‘elephant’ on the blackboard.
As the issue became a hot topic of discussion among citizens on social media platforms, Chaudhary, who claims to hold a master of business administration degree, came out with a clarification, saying he deliberately misspelt the word to test the ability of schoolchildren to detect spelling errors.
‘My objective was to check the English grammar and spelling proficiency among school children. I had intentionally written wrong spelling of elephant to check whether the students can find out the error and learn to write the right spelling,’ the Bharatiya Janata Party leader said in a statement on Friday.
‘After writing ‘elephent’ instead of elephant, I gave example of ‘Deesa’. I wrote two spellings of the town -- Deesa and Disa -- on the blackboard and told them to choose the correct one.
‘It was my attempt to make them understand language and spellings. Since media only showed the photo with wrong spelling, it appeared otherwise,’ said the statement.
Recently, a petition was filed in the Gujarat high court alleging Chaudhary’s MBA degree was ‘fake’. However, the petition was disposed of by the court.