HSC Physics book sheds new light on errors

The back cover displays a light bulb being lit up through mutual inductance which requires an AC power source while the coils shown being powered by a battery; textbook also has several typos and printing errors

There seems to be no end to errors cropping up in state board textbooks and the problem, say many teachers, is leaving a bad impression on students.

After a series of errors were found in the History and Geography textbooks of Std X students and in the Std III Geography textbook, students and teachers have now pointed out an error on the back cover of the Std XII Physics textbook (see box) this year, apart from other blunders in it.

“While the error looks minor, the fact that it is on a textbook meant for over 14 lakh HSC students across the state, and officiated by the Maharashtra state board, is really sad,” said Parth Mehta, an HSC student. Physics professors in colleges across the city said that, besides this, there are also several other minor typing errors in the textbook.

“Mutual inductance diagram is very basic and is taught to students from Std X onwards. Most colleges have asked students to ignore the diagram on the cover of the textbook,” said S Sharma, a physics professor from a Bandra-based junior college.

“My students have clearly been asked to refer to either the previous edition of the subject or other books authored by physicists. The quality of the new textbooks is so bad that I chose not to teach from that book,” said Mrudul Marathe, a physics professor at Sathaye College, Vile Parle.

She added that students nowadays also depend on online courses from universities like the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), which are easily available on the Web. “For us students, textbooks are the go-to books, but with silly spelling errors it becomes difficult to concentrate.

Though our professor highlights the errors, we hardly have time to correct errors and study. We are preparing for board exams as well as  competitive exams,” said Jayson Lobo, another HSC student.

What’s wrong?
The back cover of this textbook displays a diagram depicting mutual inductance, a process that requires an alternating current (AC) source as power supply. Due to mutual inductance, when an alternating current flows through one coil, it generates voltage in a nearby coil. In the diagram, this induced current is shown to light up a bulb.

However, the power source is shown as a battery, which can only provide direct current (DC). Not only will the bulb not light up as per this setup, but could also cause one part of the apparatus to overheat.

Page 27: Under the section ‘Weightlessness condition in a satellite’, the book states that the effect of gravitational force on Earth is similar to the force felt on a satellite. However this isn’t true because the gravitational force decreases with distance from the Earth

Page 282: Under the section ‘Effect of frequency on photoelectric current’, the text states that photoelectric current is dependent on frequency, while it should be ‘independent’

Past errors
Errors are nothing new for the state board. History 
and Geography textbooks for Std X were riddled with them.

History horrors
>> Suez Canal is referred to as a “sewage area” and Burma as “Bhramadesh”
>> Africans have been referred to as “N*****s”
>> Guinea Coast has been printed as Gincoast and Cameroon as Kamarun
>> Dates of major events were wrong. Moreover, World War II, which had an entire chapter devoted to it in the old syllabus, was condensed into a paragraph
>> World War II started on September 1, 1939. But the books mention that it began with Hitler’s attack on Poland on September 15, 1939
>> Many paragraphs make no sense, while there is repetition of text in some chapters

Geography gone wrong
>> The map of India had missed out on Arunachal Pradesh, a state that China considers its own 
>> There were several grammatical errors

Board speak
State Education Chairman Mahavir Mane said, “None of the colleges have reported any errors in the Std XII Physics textbook. Had that been the case, we would have informed students and teachers through our monthly magazine that is circulated to all schools and colleges across the state.”

Mane added that in case there are errors in the textbooks, the board should be told so that students can be informed. “However, I don’t think there are any errors in the textbook,” he stated.

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