THE last manual typewriting exam in the state was held on Saturday, but the typing institutes that adapted to the changing times swiftly and on time, are not complaining. Twenty years ago, Pankaj Pawar had opened Parvati Typing Institute near Yerwada that offered a course in typewriting. For many years, there was no dearth of students. However, early 2000 onwards, the effects of the computer age started becoming conspicuous on his business — the number of students enrolling for the course fell drastically with each passing year and he suffered losses. Things changed for the better when he replaced typewriters with computers a few years ago. “Even when typewriter was in demand, we used to get 70-75 students for the six-month course.
But ever since we have introduced computer typing course, the students have increased by 50 per cent. Currently, I have 130 students. There was just one student who recently wanted to appear for the manual typing exam on the typewriter. Instead of asking him to come to attend the class, I gave him a typewriter to practise,” says Pawar.
Pawar’s institute is one of the 135 typing institutes in Pune which replaced typewriters with computers after the 2013 Government Resolution by the Department of School Education and Sports that stated, “Typewriting machines are outdated, manufacturers have shut shop and there are no spare parts available in market. We need computer-trained individuals for government offices as we adapt to e-governance.”
Prakash Karale, member of Maharashtra State Council of Examination (MSCE), Pune, and president of Maharashtra Rajya Tanklekhan Laghulekhan Shasanmanya Sansthanchi Sanghatana (MSCEIA), said the association had been demanding to close the manual typing and replace it with computers since 2007. He said that nearly 3,500 typing institutes in Maharashtara ran courses in typewriting for many years, but in the past few years, the government offices stopped using typewriters and the production of typewriters also stopped.
“Finally, in 2011, the then education minister Rajendra Darda told us to get ready for computers. In the following year, we prepared a syllabus for computer typing course and gave it to the education department. The GR came into effect in October 2013. In the next one-and-a-half years, all the typewriting institutes were given recognition to carry out computer typing course, which is vast and covers a range of topics.”
Karale said that the number of students appearing for the computer typing exam have increased by almost 30 to 50 per cent every year. This year, he said, nearly two lakh students across the state are expected to appear for the exam.
Prashant Niranjan Yavatkar, owner of Sadhana Typing Institute in Hadapsar, said, “I introduced computer typing course last year and have got a good response as compared to the typewriting course in its last stage. Now, I have altogether 40 students. The decision was the need of the hour and it’s important to move with the times. The shift has been smooth and also financially fruitful. The good thing is that we are not running in losses.” While the fee for a six-month typewriting course was around Rs 3,000-3,500, the same for a six-month computer course is Rs 4,700.
Although the typing institutes have hailed the change, their love for the typewriters haven’t changed one bit. Pawar has 20 typewriters lying on the loft of his house, but he’s not ready to part with them. “These have been the source of my livelihood for many years. I can’t discard them,” he said.
Yavatkar said, “I have kept them safely,” adding that if comes across someone who genuinely needs them, he can pass them on.” Till that happens, he is happy keeping them with himself.