Teachers back to square one

Teachers back to square one

Helping students to take on the challenge. File Photo

It rejigs the Secondary School Leaving Certificate (SSLC) Examination question paper pattern in August. Two months later, it suddenly wakes up to the fact that the teachers were not trained enough to provide appropriate guidance to students who would appear for next year’s SSLC examination in which they will have to tackle descriptive-type questions.

The Education Department has now instructed all government and private schools to put in place teacher-preparation programmes that would focus on helping students to take on the challenge posed by questions that seek descriptive analyses from them. The accent would be on reorienting teachers to extensive qualitative teaching methods. Essentially, the government’s decision harks back to the older practice when students had to write essay-type questions.

Subsequent to the announcement of descriptive question paper pattern by Primary Education Minister Vishweshwara H Kageri in August, government and private schools have begun gearing up teachers so they are able to adopt effective practices in imparting instruction to next year’s SSLC examinees.

Aimed at improving students’ writing abilities, the change in the question paper pattern implied that students will have to be prepared to write descriptive and analytical answers, concentrating on Mathematics and Science subjects.

The March 2010 SSLC examinations will comprise descriptive type questions of 75 marks and multiple choice questions (MCQs) of 25 marks. For Science and Mathematics, the MCQs will be of 26 and 30 marks, respectively, with descriptive questions for the remaining marks.

“Students too were advised that writing explanatory and analytical answers was the key to score high marks”.

Jayanthi Kumar, a Math teacher, said that Standard X students were given descriptive question assignments as “vacation homework’” to prepare them for the SSLC examination.

She explained that “enabling students to answer questions in core subjects like Math and Science in analytical ways required a lot of understanding and change in basic teaching methods”.

She said that in the earlier pattern based on MCQs students had an altogether different approach to examinations. Jayanthi remarked that “preparing students to write what they are taught with understanding and analysis has been a challenge for teachers this year”.

Nearly 8.58 lakh students had appeared for the 2009 SSLC examinations and the number is expected to increase next year.