Read it like you write it: Textbook’s new take on numbers in Marathi
State Bureau of Textbook Production and Curriculum Research is ushering in a dramatic change to the manner in which students will be taught to pronounce, learn and study numericals in Marathi above 20.
The state book publisher, ‘Balbharati’, has introduced this new reading style in all Class 2 Marathi Mathematics textbooks for the 2019-2020 academic year.
Teachers have been directed to teach the new pattern and these changes have been initiated to make pronunciation of numbers in Marathi easier for students.
Mangala Naralikar, Mathematics committee chairman, Maharashtra State Bureau of Textbook Production and Curriculum Research, said, “Last year it was introduced in the Class 1 textbook and we didn’t get any complaints. Our aim is to teach children in the five-six-year old age group in a simpler way. Considering students who are the first literate generation in their family, or those students who do not have anyone literate in their home, these changes have been made to enable their learning.”
The change in the Marathi system is also impacted by the use of English numbers in daily life in the state.
“Though their primary language is Marathi, they find English numbers easier to read and write.
“Our teachers have found this over the years. So, to make it simple, we want students to read these numbers as they write,” she says.
“A majority of the students get confused learning these numbers. For example, 87 - which is read as ‘satyanshi’ in Marathi, can now be read as ‘ainshi’ (80), plus ‘saat’ (7),” Naralikar added.
“Importantly, we have an inclusive policy; which means the older version of reading numbers is also in place in textbooks,” Naralikar says, adding, “Students can choose any, as both styles of reading numbers are correct. We are not changing anything in the Marathi language, only the style of reading the Marathi numbers we are upgrading. This is only from 20 to 100, and not above 100. This is also not a compulsion,” she added.
The Balbharati textbook suggestion has already started drawing opposition. Vikram Kale, a Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) MLC , says, “These changes made by Balbharati in the reading style of Marathi numbers is not right and will increase the confusion for students. We have demanded a high-level enquiry and textbooks should be withdrawn immediately.”