Of the 17 lakh students appearing in the SSC exams across the state, only two took the Russian language exam on Saturday. One is Eden Genet Teshome, an Ethiopian, and a student at the Auxillium Convent High School in Wadala. The other candidate is from Kolhapur.
From setting the paper to arranging a supervisor, the Russian exam for these two students followed the same protocol used for all other exams.
As per the rules of the Maharashtra State Board of Secondary and Higher Secondary Education (MSBSHSE), six sets of papers were set for the Russian exam. “The paper setters prepared six sets, of which one packet was sent for printing,” says Lakshmikant Pande, chairman of the Mumbai division board. A hundred copies of the paper were printed since that is the minimum number allowed. The paper was sent to the two centres in a sealed box with a custodian. The centre head was in charge of keeping the paper in safe custody.
Eden is the daughter of the Consul General of Ethiopia, Genet Teshome. At the exam on Saturday, she was accompanied by security staff, the supervisor and the deputy head of the centre, and sat with 20 students taking the Sanskrit language exam.
“The 80-mark paper was easy and I completed well before time,” says Eden, speaking to DNA outside her centre at Raja Shivaji Vidyalaya, Dadar. Eden was allowed to study Russian under the three language rule of the MSBSHSE. She chose Russian, as she had studied it in school in Ethiopia. As Eden’s school doesn’t have a Russian teacher, an expert from the Ethiopian consulate home-tutored her. The oral exam of 20 marks was conducted by her tutor.
Four years ago, when Teshome got a posting to Mumbai, Eden decided to come along with her father. “India is known for education which I wanted to experience myself. Also, I am close to my dad,” says Eden with a sweet smile. Her older brother, a HSC student at Khalsa College, also accompanied them. Speaking about difference between the two education system, Eden makes the point that in India students have to learn everything by heart, whereas in Ethiopia, students write answers in their own ways. The girl is now set to leave India as her father’s tenure is about to over. “We are going back to Adis Ababa. But I would come again as I couldn’t see anything in India except Goa and Pune. I would like to work here but doubtful if I get an opportunity as India is already very populated,” says Eden, who has made many friends in Mumbai and started loving pav bhaji, vada pav and pani puri.