Chandigarh: English school teachers in Punjab have flunked the English language test.
From tenses to spellings, every thing they wrote was wrong, resulting in a rap on their knuckles from Education Minister Dalit Singh Cheema. They may now find themselves back in schools to unlearn the wrong.
Sample these: "Leak of interest", "Staff of our school was vacant" and "Our school has situated remote area".
These are some of the shocking errors that came to light in the written replies of 220 teachers of government schools who were asked by the Punjab School Education Board to explain the poor results of Class 10 students in English in their schools.
The board called these teachers for a meeting in Mohali town to know why more than 80,000 of the 3.5 lakh students of Class 10 failed to clear the English exam.
At the meeting, where Cheema was present, each teacher was given a proforma to explain the reasons for the poor results -- and suggestions to improve the learning levels.
When asked to speak in English, most teachers left the minister fuming.
One teacher explained the reason for the poor performance by saying: "The main reason is our school has situated remote area."
The teacher's idea of improving the results was starting "fresh periods before recess".
"English are international language," another teacher remarked.
When the minister pointed out the glaring mistakes in the four-word sentence, the teacher argued that he forgot to bring his reading glasses.
A frustrated Cheema asked: "What is relation between the spectacles and the grammar?"
Another teacher, who wanted to say that the vacant posts of teachers should be filled on priority, wrote "posts need to be fulfilled".
Another teacher wrote: "Student mental level are not well in these syllabus." Yet another wrote: "It class was very weak from 6 by chance."
"My sentence formation was wrong because I got nervous," a teacher later told the minister.
There were howlers in spellings: practical was spelt as "precticls", should as "shoud", lack as "leak" and vacant as "vacent".
The stunned minister told the teachers: "Now I realise that the students are not at fault. In fact, teachers are responsible. Those being taught by such teachers should not even dream of passing the exams."
Concerned over the declining standards of education at the primary and secondary levels, Cheema told IANS that after meeting the teachers he has constituted a committee comprising educationists to chalk out a long-term plan to improve their language skills.
The first task of the committee would be to study the problem in depth and then work out a crash course for the teachers.
Besides, the school board will work out details of a long-term training programme for English teachers in each school, said Cheema, who will personally monitor the training capsule.
(Vishal Gulati can be contacted at email@example.com)