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No options for Gujarat 's 'linguistic minority' students
By: Saeed Khan

Ahmedabad: 'Linguistic minority' Class 12 students in Gujarat face a problem during the examinations as the state education board does not provide question papers in the language they have opted for, claim some schools.

The students of Urdu, Sindhi, Marathi and five other 'linguistic minority' languages are instead given question papers in Gujarati, Hindi or English, which they have not studied and are ignorant of, say the authorities of minority schools.

The Gujarat Secondary and Higher Secondary Education Board (GSHSEB) chairman, H.N. Hingu, says in defence: "The first reason is that they (such students) are very few in number. Second it is a question of secrecy (of the question papers). The chances of question papers getting leaked are more if it is translated in other languages."

Since the board was started in 1975, the students of the eight 'minority' languages have been getting papers in Hindi, English and Gujarati on the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) pattern,
said Hingu.

The schools and education trusts run by linguistic minorities are upset, arguing that when the board is able to provide text books and teachers in the eight languages then why it could not provide the question papers in the languages.

"If it is an administrative problem, why should the students be made to pay a price? If the board can manage the textbooks and teachers in different languages like Urdu or Sindhi, what stops them from
providing the question papers in the same languages?" asked Sharifunnisha Qazi, the principal of F.D. High School, Ahmedabad.

Gulam Mohammed Ansari, an Urdu teacher, asks why Class 12 students could not be given the same option, since Class 10 students of 'minority languages' are given question papers in the language they
have opted for.

"The board has no problem in providing Class 10 students with question papers in their opted media. Why do they not behave properly with Class 12 students?" questioned Ansari.

"If they really have a threat of papers getting leaked when translated in Gujarat , they should get them translated in another state. But Class 10 papers have never got leaked from any translator here," he added.

Many term the argument of keeping the question papers a secret as humbug.

"If they fear the papers will get leaked, how can they guarantee that a Gujarati or Hindi speaking teacher will never leak a paper? How can they accuse linguistic minorities of dishonesty?" asked Nirmal Goplani, principal of Maharshi Dayanand High School here.

"For conducting their examinations they prefer our centres, arguing that we are strict and don't allow copying. But when it comes to offering question papers in Sindhi, Urdu or Marathi, they brand us unfaithful," he added.

"For Class 10, the question papers of all the eight languages are translated. Has any Urdu or Sindhi translator leaked papers? Why is the board worried about Class 12?" asked Ansari.

According to Sharifunnisha Qazi, the board's arguments were "rubbish" to "wash its hands off the responsibility".

The authorities of such language schools have taken up the issue regularly before different committees, the minority commission and the state government, but to no avail.
She said the education minister had expressed concern over the issue and assured that the problem would be looked into.

"The Urdu medium students are facing more problems now as the number of questions had increased from five to 80 on the CBSE pattern," said Qazi.

She said the Urdu medium students appearing for the computer paper were expected to write in Gujarati.

"The paper is in other languages, which the students find difficult. How can they write in a language they don't know at all?" she contented.

When asked about the board's insistence on Gujarati in the subject of computers, Hingu refused to comment, expressing ignorance over the matter.

The schools have meanwhile begun to train students by having compulsory question papers in Gujarati during preliminary examinations.

"We now give them papers in Gujarati from Class 11 so that they become accustomed to the script. We have no other option," said Goplani.

According to Goplani, teachers and trustees of the 'linguistic minority' schools are planning to approach the high court on the matter.

There are 300 students of Urdu language, around 200 of Marathi and more than 100 students of Sindhi taking the Class 12 examination. There are more than 250,000 Class 12 students across the state taking the examinations this year.

Courtesy: http://www.newkerala.com/news2.php?action=fullnews&id=30536


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