End of typewriting in Maharashtra: Institute owners angry, stare at bleak future | mumbai news | Hindustan Times
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End of typewriting in Maharashtra: Institute owners angry, stare at bleak future

There are approximately 3,500 institutes in the state, all of which are allowed to train students on computers, but prefer not to do so because of the higher expenses involved and an alleged lack of demand from students. They seem to see typewriting as a precursor to using the computer.

mumbai Updated: Aug 12, 2017 00:39 IST
Shasta Kaul
The switch to computers is inevitable, but unaffordable for many.
The switch to computers is inevitable, but unaffordable for many. (HT)

As students clattered away on the typewriters in the last exam at SV High School in Kandivli, typing institute owners were angry albeit nostalgic.

“Typewriters and computers need to co-exist; the relevant examinations do co-exist in 18 Indian states, just as bicycles and motorcycles do – and the former is crucial for the use of the latter,” said Prabhakar Dambal of Adarsh Computer Institute, Andheri.

Damble’s analogy falls short as unlike bicycles, production of typewriters was halted in 2011 by Godrej and Boyce. The typewriter-manufacturing factory in India was the last-of-its-kind in the world. Spare parts have since become more expensive, and it’s not long before they become unavailable.

There are approximately 3,500 institutes in the state, all of which are allowed to train students on computers, but prefer not to do so because of the higher expenses involved and an alleged lack of demand from students. They seem to see typewriting as a precursor to using the computer.

Anjali Bhalekar, 22, who took the exam at the Kandivli school, said , “I’m happy that I got to sit the last exam it went well. I think I can apply for a lot of jobs with the certificate.”

The switch to computers is inevitable, but unaffordable for many.

Suvarna Shinde, the owner of Avadhut Commerce Institute (Andheri), said: “It’s mainly people from nearby slums who enrol at my institute, and most of them are unable to pay the Rs1,700 difference between computer and typewriting courses.”

She added that many people did not have access to electricity and consequently, computers. They can only rely on the typewriter for jobs.

“There is no support to institutes from the government to subsidise computer courses or to acquire the expensive machinery required for the computer typing exams, in which students have been performing very poorly.” she said.

Typewriters have provided typewriter mechanics like Rajaram Mahadik and typist Rachna Hadkar, who sits near the Bandra court, a livelihood for the past 30 and 25 years, respectively. It is likely that they will continue to do so for up to a decade in the future; their existing machines seemed quite sturdy. It is small institutes, run majorly by women, that looks at structural unemployment as the country enters the digital age, unless the government steps in to aid the transition to computers.