Typewriters better than computers, necessary, say Maharashtra institutes
Mumbai city news: When the government planned to phase out manual typing courses in April 2013, MSCE fought back, voting against the ideamumbai Updated: Jun 12, 2017 14:18 IST
The Maharashtra State Council of Examination (MSCE) recently said it was “necessary to keep the manual typing course alive”.
The statement comes as the state government prepares to axe the manual typewriting exam from next year onwards, in favour of going digital. As many as 10,000 employees at 3,500 typewriting institutes across the state face the threat of unemployment.
In a report sent to the state education department, MSCE officials said typewriting was a basic skill and acquiring it was necessary for computer-related work. People who know the basic layout of a typewriter’s keys can use computers more efficiently owing to structural similarity, reads the report, filed in response to the state government’s question as to whether typewriting skills were required in the age of digitalisation.
When the government planned to phase out manual typing courses in April 2013, MSCE fought back, voting against the idea. After numerous extensions since then, the August 2017 government certificate in computer typing basic course (GCC-TBC) will be the last ones in which typewriters are used.
“No offices use typewriters today. Knowledge of how computers work is more important than learning how to type quickly. There is no point keeping typewriters alive,” said Dinkar Patil, chairman,MSCE, Pune.
MSCE officials will be content with a compromise. “Keep the current manual typing courses alive. But, considering changes in digital world, it is important to combine computer training courses and typewriting courses,” the report read.
Chief minister Devendra Fadnavis met typewriting institutes last month to discuss the technical and practical issues this practice faces. The institutes had said it was impossible to conduct the examinations on computers owing to a lack of resources.
“Power cuts are frequent at villages in Pune, Satara, Sangli, Kolhaur, Marathwada and Vidarbha. We have been conducting exams on typewriters since the past 65 years. Can government assure us of the same now? What about the lack of well-maintained computers, erratic electricity supply and internet facilities?” asked Vinay Rane, owner of a Mumbai-based typing institute and general secretary of Bombay, commerce educational institute association.
Institute owners said typewriters’ ‘touch method’ keys make it easier for visually challenged people to learn typing. “The keys are disabled-friendly, unlike computers that need external audio-visual software for visually challenged students. The feel and sound of a typewriter gives visually challenged students more confidence, which will only help them handle computers in future,” said Prabhakar Dambal, president, MCEIA.
Institutes said the government’s claim that there was a lack of spare parts of mechanics to repair typewriters is false. “Last year, mechanics wrote to us saying they had the spare parts and expertise to repair typewriters. They asked us to forward their letter to the education ministry. If we lose our jobs, they will to,” said Lalit Bhatti, who runs a typing institute near Kandivli station.
Dambal added that big institutes might switch to computer training. “However, those with limited resources are sure to perish, just like the sound of typewriters,” he said.