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Hundreds of mistakes, factual errors cited in Pune Board's Urdu textbooks
Disappointed teachers' body refuses to meet concerned ministers; Instead decides to write own 'book of errors' to offer correction
Thursday July 18, 2013 3:26 PM, Ather Shazan, ummid.com

Known for its shameless record of being ignorant and irresponsible each time the syllabus is upgraded and new textbooks are published, the Maharashtra State Board of Secondary and Higher Secondary Education (MSBSHSE) is under fire once again this time for hundreds of errors in Class 10 and Class 12 textbooks cited by a teachers' body.

Notwithstanding the fact that the errors are found in the Class 10 and Class 12 textbooks which can create serious problems at the time of assessments of the SSC and HSC board exams, the nature of these errors in itself is such that if the board does not take immediate corrective measure or withdraw these books, they can damage the language understanding skills of students and give rise to doubts and misunderstanding in their minds, experts feel.

"We had already brought to the attention of the board the mistakes and errors found in Class 9 and Class 11 textbooks released in July 2012 through none other than Minister of State for Education Mrs Fauzia Khan. But the board, literally to our shock, once again did the same thing when it released the textbooks for Class 10 and Class 12 in May this year and continued with its policy of publishing books with spate of errors", Najma Qazi, Vice-President of Mumbai Head Masters' Association and Principal of Anjuman Islam Saif Tyabji Girls High School (Byculla), while talking to ummid.com.

She said they found 553 mistakes in Class 12 Urdu textbook and 245 in the Class 10. "The index page of the Class 12 Urdu textbook alone has 22 mistakes", she said.

She said they noticed all kinds of errors in the textbooks. "There are grammatical mistakes, factual errors, incorrect spelling and content errors. They are serious errors and cannot be just ignored. The board should immediately withdraw all these erroneous books", she demanded.

Elaborating further on the kind of errors these books have, Dr. Shafi Shaikh, retired head of the Mumbai university's Arabic department and recipient of the President's Award for 'Excellence in Arabic', said, "There are errors which cannot be easily noticed by the teachers, such as name of an author is written as 'Syed Ahmed Husain' at one place. The fact is that the said author is 'Syed Amjad Husain'."

"Likewise", he said, "Urdu has a famous word 'Sarisht'. It means 'nature' and normally used to define nature of a person. But in the textbook, its meaning is given as 'Ebadat' - Urdu equivalent of prayers, worship."

"Another grave mistake found in a Class 10 textbook is the time of occurrence of one of the most important battles in Islamic history. It mentions that the Battle of Uhud was the first battle fought after the Prophet Muhammad migrated from Makkah to Madina.The first battle was actually the Battle of Badr", Dr. Shafi said.

"This is a very childish mistake and it shows that the experts who wrote the textbook do not have even the basic knowledge of the Islamic history," he added.

Interestingly, similar mistakes were also there when the board had released the Class 9 and Class 11 textbooks in July 2012. Alarmed by this, the Mumbai Head Masters' Association led by Dr. Shafi Shaikh and Najma Qazi had met Minister of Minority Development Department Arif Naseem Khan and Minister of State for Education Fauzia Khan with a demand to put an immediate check on the Board of Studies.

"We had in fact requested both of them to stop any further release of the textbooks without re-check. We had also offered our services to have a re-look on the Class 10 and Class 12 textbooks that were under preparation", Dr. Shafi said.

"However", he added, "Except for the correction the board made in the new edition of the 9th standard book, it did not bother to consider our proposal. The result is that the Class 10 and Class 12 books have more errors."

Tired of the lacklustre attitude of the board, the Mumbai Head Masters' Association took it upon itself to publish a "Book of Errors" highlighting the mistakes in these text books and distribute to the schools across the state.

"We can neither waste valuable time in meeting ministers whose directives are never taken care of nor wait for the board to correct these mistakes. We have formed a committee of experts which is reviewing these books so that a booklet can be compiled as soon as possible and distributed to all schools", said Najma Qazi.


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