Students appearing for the Higher Secondary Certificate (HSC) examination in Japanese on Wednesday complained they were unable to decipher most of the words on the question paper as it was handwritten and then photocopied.
As only 17 students from the entire Mumbai division, which includes Thane, Palghar and Raigad, had opted for the subject, the divisional board distributed photocopies of a handwritten question paper during the examination, instead of getting the papers typed.
Students complained that the copies were barely legible and difficult to read. “We couldn’t read most of the words, we actually have attempted the paper on guess work,” said a science student from a city college.
According to the students, out of the three scripts in the paper, all the words in Hiragana (the basic Japanese phonetic script) looked the same.
“We had to assume what those words could be since we couldn’t see them clearly,” added the student.
“Last year, too, students faced the same problem but did not report it to the board.”
Even the supervisors couldn’t help the students in reading the paper during the exam. “The invigilators told us to write whatever we could understand, as they did not know the language,” added the student.
The students could barely attempt 30 marks of the 80-mark paper. “I could only attempt the questions on translation as the English words were clear and the essay part since the topics were in bold,” said another student from the same college.
Taking up the students’ complaints, city colleges have planned to approach the board.
“All our students who took the exam complained that the handwriting on the paper was not legible,” said Harsha Mehta, the principal of SIES College, Sion. “We have decided to raise this issue with the board and will write to them tomorrow.”
On the other hand, the board maintained that the paper was legible. “After receiving complaints, I called for a copy of the paper and found it to be clear,” said Gangadhar Mhamane, the chairperson of the state board.