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Email, SMS, social media writing: Here’s an exam paper kids will ace

education Updated: Sep 23, 2015 23:11 IST
Musab Qazi
Social media

An email or text message pips the handwritten letter today. And schools are adapting.

The Maharashtra State Board of Secondary and Higher Secondary Education (MSBSHSE) has asked schools to include questions on writing a congratulatory message through SMS or a leave application over an email, along with questions on conventional letter writing, in the Class 9 state board exams.

With writing for social media emerging as an independent career option, principals and teachers see this as a necessary addition.

“Younger teachers have the skills to teach children how to write for the electronic media; senior teachers may require some training. Students, on the other hand, are quite savvy in using of mobile phones,” said Diana Pereira, the principal of Dadar Parsee Youths Assembly School.

The new element is part of the activity-based paper pattern for English, second language and combined language papers for Class 9 students.

These activity-based papers seek to test the students’ grasp over languages and comprehension, and include puzzles, picture writing and questions based on passages, instead of focussing on of rote learning.

The activity-based papers were already introduced for English language papers, but the state board has now directed schools across the state to follow the pattern for Marathi, Hindi, Gujarati, Urdu, Sindhi, Telugu, Kannada and Sanskrit as well.

While teachers are all for the new paper pattern, they pointed out that introducing it mid-term, just before a semester exams, is an issue. “The new pattern requires students to master the language. We will have to adopt an entirely different teaching approach from now. The students will face difficulties during the exam,” said father Jude Fernandes, principal, St Mary’s School, Mazagaon.

“The changes were long due, but the government should have brought them in at the beginning of the academic year. The semester exams are just weeks awayand teachers don’t have the necessary training,” said Uday Nare, a Marathi language teacher at Hansraj Moraji Public School, Andheri.

Krishna Kumar Patil, board secretary, however said, “The teachers were told about the change in paper pattern during training sessions in the beginning of the year.”

Some schools, such as St Mary’s School and Utpal Sanghvi High School, are yet to get the circular.

New-age question papers

The Maharashtra State Board of Secondary and Higher Secondary Education has decided to include questions on how to write a congratulatory message through SMS or a leave application over email, along with conventional letter-writing questions

The new component is part of the activity-based paper pattern for English, second language and combined language papers for Class 9 students

What is the activity-based format?

These papers are designed to test a student’s grasp of language and comprehension, by including elements such as puzzles and picture writing. It discourages rote learning

The activity-based papers were already introduced for English language papers, and the state board has directed schools across to follow the pattern for Marathi, Hindi, Gujarati, Urdu, Sindhi, Telugu, Kannada and Sanskrit as well

‘Mid-sem change a problem’

Some teachers questioned the board’s decision to bring the changed pattern in the middle of the academic year

“The government should have brought in these changes in the beginning of the academic year. The semester exams are just weeks away, so it will create complications as the teachers don't have the necessary training,” said Uday Nare, a Marathi language teacher at Hansraj Moraji Public School, Andheri.