Students need to have aptitude

 The article ‘Attitude and aptitude’ (Knowledge, August 19) is timely. The academic session in colleges is only a few weeks old and may still provide an exit-door for those who find themselves all at sea in the course they have chosen to pursue without knowing anything about the requirements of the same. The cases cited in journalism, event management and public relations are very pertinent and, leaving aside those who enter a profession by accident, at least those who opt for higher education need to make an informed choice with a full awareness of the demands. To give another example, geology is a field science and those who take up a master’s programme in the subject ought to be prepared for working in the field for some time, foregoing the comforts of life in a city to be successful as a geologist.  There are many instances of students who changed over to more comfortable, while-collar jobs in the banks after finding the rigours of field life too much. The importance of the correct aptitude while choosing a course cannot be overemphasised.

 DR V SUBRAMANYAN, Thane  

 Model answers for HSC exams

This is with reference to the article ‘Fitting the mould’ (Knowledge, August 19) which is on the Maharashtra Board’s decision to release the model answers for the HSC examinations in the science subjects and mathematics thanks to the persistent efforts of two activists. The opinions of the students cited alongside the article do not seem to suggest that this move will benefit them and, on the contrary, bring out their apprehensions that this will only increase their burden. In fact, one of them has suggested that the question bank be released to the students before the examinations, which is of course too much to ask for. There is a risk even in releasing the model answers – the correctness of some of the answers may be questioned at least in the subjective questions.  It also needs to be realised that when the examiners have to evaluate hundreds of papers, they may not be able to keep strictly to the model answers alone and may be using their discretion in awarding the marks. Therefore one feels it will be the best to leave the students at peace while preparing for their exams – they can go by the question papers for the previous years to get some idea of the nature of the questions.

 DR V SUBRAMANYAN, Thane

Teachers’ behaviour in class

 This is with reference to another interesting article, ‘Rude Awakenings’ (Knowledge, August 12) which discusses the issue of teachers ‘humiliating’ students in the class for trivial misdemeanours.  Such situations should not arise in the class, especially in colleges, where the students are grown-up enough to understand what they are doing and the teachers, experienced enough to handle instances of indiscipline tactfully.  Knowledge has talked to two students on the matter. One suggests putting all the teachers through an orientation course at the start of the year to make them sensitive towards students in class, despite agreeing that the students are also to blame most of the times but believes that the teacher should handle it in person and not openly in the class. The second student goes soft on the teachers and believes that if a teacher chooses to make any remarks, it must be for the purpose of discipline. In this matter, It needs to be realised that students are after all only students and some of them will have their rough edges which need to be rounded off by the teacher diplomatically without making a big issue of it.

  DR V SUBRAMANYAN, Thane

Virtual classroom in MU

 This is with reference to Vinita Bajari’s article ‘Virtually active’ (Knowledge, August 19) which is about the setting up of an automated virtual classroom in Mumbai University. The room is connected to an auditorium with a capacity of 300. Even though it may be that this is the first time a traditional pubic university has taken this step, IIT Bombay has had this this facility since 2007 using ISRO’s ‘Edusat’ under the ISRO-IIT-B Technology Cell that has been in operation for two decades now.  While academic sessions and conferences can be live-streamed across colleges, videos will also be available at the university’s site for students who wish to view them later.  All the facilities of the internet will be made available under the National Mission Education through Information and Communication Technology of the HRD ministry. Of the 700 colleges affiliated to the university, 420 have already registered for the digital system ‘A-View’, designed by the Amrita University. Mumbai University deserves to be complimented for taking this positive step.

 DR V SUBRAMANYAN, Thane

Reading an English newspaper facilitates English speaking

 This has reference to the article ‘Mind your language’ (Knowledge, August 19) wherein it has been underlined that since English is synonymous to progress, knowledge of the language is a must. Needless to add, command over spoken English enables you to move forward in life. No wonder there is a proliferation of English speaking classes. Vocabulary building, proper pronunciation, reading aloud in English and watching television programmes are stepping stones to achieving proficiency in spoken English as highlighted in the article.

Trainer Amrita Sagar has rightly observed that when you listen to the sound of your own voice, enables you to point out where you have gone wrong. Eighty per cent of our knowledge of any language is attained by way of listening. Since people around us rarely speak English, we do not get acquainted with English.

Reading an English newspaper enables you to familiarise yourself with the daily events and incidents and in the process facilitates your English speaking. It also helps you to make use of appropriate words since newspapers tend to be economical and selective in their choice of words. Reading also helps one to identify the words which are most suitable in a particular context. Besides, learners should make it a habit to read notice boards in English. You should try to make use of small sentences you have read whenever possible in your daily communication with your friends. As the article sums up, learning takes time, and you need to keep your patience and perseverance. You will witness improvement as the days pass by and if you sustain your passion for reading, the day may not be far off when you start speaking English comfortably, fluently, easily, effectively and impressively and most importantly, as effortlessly.

 PROF  SUHAS  PATWARDHAN,  Badlapur

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