Mumbai: With exams around the corner, SSC students hunt for textbooks from other boards

Oct 10, 2014, 09:18 IST | Shreya Bhandary

While Urdu textbooks have more than 800 mistakes, others have incorrect facts and wrong dates for historic events, forcing students to ask their friends from ICSE and CBSE boards for notes

With first-semester exams just a few days away, most class IX and X state board students are busy asking their CBSE and ICSE counterparts for notes to avoid having to study from their own error-ridden text books.

The state-board’s  Std X history textbook
The state-board’s Std X history textbook

mid-day had reported in June (‘Maharashtra’s shame: Africans are referred to as ‘N*****s’ in SSC textbook’) how the history and geography textbooks for this academic year were riddled with errors despite many of the mistakes pointed out the previous year.

The race-related error
The race-related error

Now, the Urdu Headmasters Association has decided to write to the state board authorities to look into hundreds of grammatical and factual errors in the class IX, X, XI and XII Urdu-medium textbooks. “Last year, we had pointed out over 800 mistakes in Urdu textbooks to the authorities but no changes were made this year.

Our students are struggling with the books and finding it difficult to prepare for the exams,” said Najma Kazi, principal of Anjuman-I-Islam Saif Tayabji School in Mumbai Central, who is a part of the Urdu Headmasters Association. “The plethora of mistakes is making it tough for even teachers to teach students in class,” she added.

mid-day’s report on June 9
mid-day’s report on June 9

In the last academic year, the Maharashtra State Board for Secondary and High Secondary Education (MSBSHSE) received a lot of flak for turning a blind eye to the glaring errors that were printed in the new textbooks as per the upgraded syllabus. In the class X Geography textbook, one of the maps showed the state of Arunachal Pradesh as part of China.

Similarly, the class X History textbook had referred to the Suez Canal as the ‘Sewage Canal’. While all members of the Board of Studies (BoS) for Geography subject were suspended, show-cause notices were sent to members of the BoS for other subjects. Since the textbooks could not be called back, the state education department had decided to send corrections to schools via the state board’s monthly magazine.

However, things got even worse with the new textbooks released this year. “To our surprise, not only did the board forget to correct many of the previous mistakes, they introduced new ones. While teachers in many schools are taking the initiative to rectify the errors and teach the correct version in class, some schools have new teachers who are not aware of the mistakes themselves and end up teaching what is in the textbooks, which is unfair to the students,” said Shobha Ramana, a history teacher at Fr Agnel School in Vashi. She added that in some schools the teachers are also making separate notes for the benefit of the students.

“It’s time for the students and parents to also protest against such sub-standard textbooks being printed by the board. The quality of state board textbooks was never this bad,” added Ramana. This year, the Mumbai Geography Teachers’ Association had pointed out errors in the Std III Geography textbooks.

When mid-day spoke to state board officials, they claimed that the errors in the textbooks have been corrected in the new edition. “We have ensured that all mistakes previously pointed out to us have been corrected. In case teachers find any more mistakes, they can bring them to our notice, and we will send in corrections through our monthly magazine,” said an official from MSBSHSE. Teachers, however, said that waiting for corrections would be useless as the semester examinations are around the corner.

Student speak
Prachi Naik, an SSC student from St Thomas High School in Goregaon, said, “There are too many mistakes in the dates mentioned in our textbook so our subject teacher has given us the correct dates. Despite that, studying from our textbooks becomes difficult and I end up checking notes from either my friends from the ICSE board or looking it up on the internet.”

Samridh Mohile, an SSC
student from St Xavier’s High School in Vile Parle, said, “Our teachers have corrected some mistakes, but I’m sure there are many more errors in the textbooks. So, my friends and I are studying either from subject guides or from notes from other boards. The problem, however, is that the class X curriculum is not the same for every board and we have to study from various books to get the information that is relevant for us according to our syllabus.”

Geography too
The newly released Std III Geography textbook has also drawn flak from teachers. The Mumbai Geography Teachers Association (MGTA) has pointed out that a map on page 55 shows Backbay printed in place of Colaba while the Vasai and Malad creeks have been marked on land. Also, the map shows something called the Worli river, which does not exist. The MGTA has written to Balbharti about these errors.

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