UK agency rejects digital `Three Little Pigs’ remake to avoid offending builders, Muslims’

January 24th, 2008 - 3:01 pm ICT by admin  

London, Jan.24 (ANI): A digital remake of the Three Little Pigs story has been rejected by BECTA, a government-backed education technology agency, because it might offend Muslims.
It is the latest in a string of bans slapped on seemingly innocuous children’s stories and nursery rhymes.
In the past, Baa Baa Black Sheep has become Baa Baa Rainbow Sheep to satisfy race relations, the Seven Dwarfs have been axed from Snow White to avoid offending the vertically challenged and the ending of Humpty Dumpty has been censored for fear of upsetting sensitive children.
The latest controversy was sparked during an awards ceremony designed to honour the best educational stories, programmes and teaching aids for children, reports The Telegraph.
Dozens of companies submitted entries to the annual BETT awards, led by BECTA, which heaped praise on a robot with 67 different manoeuvres, a computer program which allows children to recreate Jackson Pollock paintings and a game helping pupils to learn French.
But Newcastle-based publishers Shoo Fly were shocked when judges told them that their interactive 3D book was unsuitable for children.
In a feedback form, Becta told the company: “Judges would not recommend this product to the Muslim community in particular.”
They also said that the subject was “questionable for certain groups within the UK” and that “only an exceedingly creative teacher could find this innovative”.
The story for primary school pupils replaces pigs with “cowboy builders” as part of a light-hearted tale designed to spark interest in reading and design technology skills.
Young children are encouraged to read the story and create their own versions using the software.
But its authors were also told that it portrays the building industry in a bad light.
Judges said “retelling a story” was acceptable, but it “should not alienate parts of the workforce”, adding that builders should be “positive” role models for young children.
Muslims also criticised BECTAs response and insisted that a computer program based on the Three Little Pigs should be welcomed in state schools.
Tahir Alam, the head of education at the Muslim Council of Britain, said: “We are not offended by that at all.”
Yesterday, the quango stood by the verdict, which was made by 70 independent judges, mainly teachers. (ANI)

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