Second language fiasco for seven Std XII students

Aug 31, 2012, 07:25 IST | Niranjan Medhekar

Communication gap between edu board and Poona College means these students from Nagaland and Manipur must drop English literature as second language and study French, German, Hindi or Arabic, covering two years' learning in just six months.

Seven Std XII students of Poona College from Nagaland and Manipur are suddenly in trouble as their college has asked them to change their second language subject, failing which they will not be able to appear for the board exam.

In a quandary: The seven students at the Pune Divisional Board office in Shivajinagar yesterday

The frustrated students are saying that it is impossible for them to take up a new language and catch up on what was taught in Std XI as well as deal with the Std XII syllabus since they have just a few months left for the board exam.  Rather than waste a year in the city, they are now considering the idea of going back to their home states. 

Coordination gap
A major coordination gap between Poona College and the Maharashtra State Board of Secondary and Higher Secondary Education (MSBSHSE) is behind the anguish of the seven students from the Northeast.

The panicked students were found waiting for two hours outside the cabin of the chairperson of the Pune Divisional Board office yesterday.

They said they had chosen English literature as their second language in Std XI on the directions of Poona College.

All of them even passed with good marks, but now suddenly the college has asked them to leave English literature and select French, German or Hindi as the second language paper. In case they do not want to opt for any of these languages, one alternative for them is to choose information technology (IT) as a subject.

The Naga Students’ Union city president Peimingam Zimik, who represented the students to present their plight before the board officials, said: “How can the board expect our students to change a complete subject just six months before the board exam? This is really unfair. The state board and the college must take into consideration the students’ side.”

One of the affected students, who requested anonymity, said: “At the time of the Std XII admission, the college told us to change the subject and take French, German or IT. But at this stage how can we cope with the change? We will have to go through the Std XI syllabus also if we do this.”

Costly IT option
While the students are more comfortable opting for IT as the alternative subject, Poona College offers IT on an unaided basis and is demanding extra fees of Rs 4000.

“I can’t afford this additional burden,” another student said, speaking on the condition of anonymity. “Rather than changing the subject and wasting one year, I will prefer to go back home.”

Pune Divisional Board secretary Mangesh Kulkarni said: “Students can’t appear for the exam with English literature as the second language as that subject comes under the category of optional subject. We have directed all junior colleges in the city about this in advance in June this year. It is totally the college’s fault.”

The MSBSHSE introduced English literature as an optional subject last year, but many colleges began offering it as a second language. The board came across this misconception during the February 2012 exam, but as it was too late by then, the board allowed it at the time.  But this year the board decided to be strict and did not allow any student to choose English literature as a second language. 

Poona College Principal Dr G M Nazeruddin said it was a decision of the board to not allow English decision and the college can’t do anything but to follow direction of state board. “We are giving these affected students from the Northeast four different language options,” he said. “They can choose any subject from French, German, Hindi and Arabic. If they are not comfortable with a language, we can give them the option of IT as a subject as well.” 

Problems galore
Uncofortable with taking up French, German, Hindi or Arabic as a second language, the affected students from the Northeast are considering taking up IT as a subject. Only, there is a hurdle to be crossed before they can do so — Poona College does not have IT for the arts stream. “If these students are willing to take IT, we will take permission from the board and include it in the arts stream in a month,” Poona College Principal Dr G M Nazeruddin.

We are giving these affected students four language options. If they are not comfortable with a language, we can give them the option of IT as a subject as well.  Dr G M Nazeruddin, principal, Poona College

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