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Four years after the Maharashtra State Board of Secondary and Higher Secondary Education introduced general mathematics as an optional subject to maths, the demand for the former is yet to pick up. Though the total number of students opting for general mathematics has increased this year, it is less than 10% of the total candidates appearing for the Secondary School Certificate (SSC) exam. Though mathematics has among the highest failure rates, few students have opted for its simpler version. Schools, principals and teachers believe that students do not wish to shut their options completely for science and commerce, which have higher mathematics as a compulsory subject. The optional subject was introduced in 2008, when few opted for it. General mathematics has found comparatively more takers this year, but the numbers are still few.
Bharat Acharya, a maths teacher at New Era School, said not too many students in his school opted for general mathematics, except 10% who felt maths was a tough cookie to crack. There is a realisation among students that they will miss out on some openings in life if they opt for general maths. But the final decision is arrived at in consultation with parents and teachers, by keeping the students past performance in the subject and his future plans in mind, added Acharya. Principal of IES VN Sule School in Dadar, Sucheta Bhawalkar, came across strange excuses from parents for not choosing general mathematics. In a batch of 750 students, just 15 opted for general mathematics. Parents say coaching classes refuse to give admissions as they don’t have separate batches for general maths. Parents, unfortunately, trust coaching institutes more than schools even if they find the subject difficult. Some schools registered a marginal increase in general maths students compared to last year. At Kamala High School in Khar, six students appeared for general mathematics last year, this year it has gone up to 22. Principal Rekha Shahani claimed students are not interested in taking up the easy math, as it is called, as it will narrow down their options post-SSC. However, Saif Tyabji Anjuman-I-Islam Girls High School in Byculla has more takers for general mathematics. Out of six divisions in our school, students in four divisions have opted for the easy math and the rest have gone for the regular subject. Our students are quite confident about the subject they wish to opt for post-SSC and therefore have made their choices, said principal Nazma Kazi. There are some students who opt for regular mathematics in class IX and then change their preferences in X, she added.
Free cabs for SSC students at Dadar:A group of cabbies in Dadar (E) will provide free taxi services to students appearing for the SSC exam from March 1. There are close to 30 schools in the area. The Mumbai Taxi Chalak Malak Sena will put up posters and hoardings to help students locate the taxis opposite Dadar (E) station, near Swami narayan temple. The services would be available only to drop students till exam centres and will benefit those headed to Wadala and Naigaon. Drivers have also agreed to drop students till Matunga if necessary. Nilesh Badade, a taxi driver who is part of the initiative, said, Taxi drivers refuse take passengers for shorter distances. We want to ensure students appearing for exams don’t waste time waiting for public transport. We have requested at least 30 taxi drivers to be there in the morning till the last date of the exam.
Courtesy: Times of India
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