The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Divided over maths paper

A day before the completion of the Madhyamik examinations, the mathematics paper upset the calculations of a large number of examinees. Several students appearing for the maths exam on Monday complained of “tough” questions.

Resentment rose among candidates at various examination centres when they found the pattern of several questions to be “completely different” from the past few years. What caused the most consternation was the geometry section of the paper.

“The pattern of questions of the geometry section was completely different from what we had been taught in class. This was a marked departure from the trend of the past several years,” complained an examinee at a south Calcutta centre.

Explaining the “departure”, mathematics teachers manning some of the examination centres said till 2002, the theorems in the geometry section were taken directly from the Board’s prescribed mathematics books.

But this time, most of the theorems, adding up to more than 20 marks, were “unseen”, complained teachers and students.

Mahavir Mukherjee, president, West Bengal Headmasters’ Association, took the students’ side and criticised the Board authorities for “introducing such major changes in the question paper” in this manner.

“The Board should have informed the schools before introducing such changes. This would have given the teachers an opportunity to coach the students accordingly,” said Mukherjee.

Dibyendu Hota, president, West Bengal Board of Secondary Education, however, said Monday’s mathematics paper was, “by and large, peacefully conducted everywhere in the state” and no school had lodged an official complaint till the evening.

Sources close to the Board’s examination department, however, pointed out that “the departure from the old trend” was part of the Board’s recent attempt to upgrade the Madhyamik mathematics syllabus and questions to the national standard, followed by other major Boards in the country like CBSE and ICSE.

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