The class 10 students of the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) and the Punjab School Education Board (PSEB) appeared for their English language exam on Monday. While CBSE students faced confusion in the English paper, PSEB students found paper tough.
As per the CBSE syllabus, the students had a choice between two novels. Each school had to prescribe one novel from which one question was to be attempted. However, the word ‘or’ was missing between two sets of questions from each novel which led to panic among the examinees. Also, in the CBSE sample paper, the name of the novel is clearly specified above the questions so that there is no confusion while attempting the explanatory question (200-250 words). However, in the paper that students got on Monday, the name of the novels was also missing.
As per the syllabus given on CBSE website — schools had to select between two extended reading texts (novels): Diary of A Young Girl (By Anne Frank) or Story of My Life (By Helen Keller). Students had to study just one and attempt one question worth 10 marks. However, in the paper on Monday, neither names of novels were mentioned and ‘or’ was missing leading to confusion.
“There was no problem in the questions. There were two questions from each novel. We had to select one from the novel we studied. However, the choice between both sets was missing. Also, they were marked as part a) and b) due to which we thought we have to attempt questions from both novels. This led to confusion and some students over attempted the paper. Even as we had no idea about what the second novel is all about, students wrote whatever they could,” said a student.
An English teacher from CBSE school in Ludhiana said, “In some centres, students were told by invigilators to attempt just one question of the four and not get confused as it was a printing error. But since the question weightage is 10 marks, students were in a panic. But in centres where no English teacher was available, there was no one to clear their confusion. Now, the board needs to instruct teachers that during checking, they should ignore if students have over attempted. They should consider the one which they have answered the best. Students are nowhere at fault.”
PSEB English paper
Meanwhile, the Punjab School of Education Board (PSEB) also conducted English exam for class 10 students on Monday. As per students and teachers, the difficulty level of question paper was ‘even higher than class 12’ (exam held on February 28) especially in section-E (writing skills).
“While the class 12 students were asked to write a letter to school principal for free concession or to MC commissioner about unsanitary conditions in the area, the class 10 students were asked to write a letter to a bank manager to avail loan for higher studies. The optional question for class 10 was also not easy and they were asked to write a letter to sister telling her about free medical camp organised by grandmother. Class 12 students got basic and easy topics and class 10 students were given tougher one. Paragraph writing was also tougher in class 10 paper,” said an English teacher.
Another teacher from a government school said, “Seeing the extreme shortage of English teachers in Punjab and teachers of other subjects being asked to teach English, there is no use of setting tough question papers. The root problem of weak basics and shortage of English specialist teachers needs to be addressed first.”