Tap tap tap… the familiar sound of letters hitting the paper on the typewriter is surely on the wane, but interest in learning the skill has not altogether diminished.
Typewriting classes were almost synonymous with vocational training until two decades ago. But, the invasion of computer has changed the scenario with keyboards replacing typewriting machines. The technical educational field also saw a sea change with several typewriting institutes being converted in to computer training centres.
However, veterans in the field note that the demand for typewriting skills is still on the rise.
G. Revathi, a college student in Ashok Nagar, said: “When my mother asked me to learn typewriting, I thought it was an outdated skill. But, learning typewriting has now helped me key in words faster than my friends.”
S.V. Ramaswamy, honorary president of The Stenographers’ Guild, said there is a 10 - 15 per cent increase in candidates who want to learn typewriting. But, not everyone who joins the class takes up the government examination. About 30 per cent of the candidates in the typewriting institutes do not appear for the examination. Though the rapid growth of computer technology may seem to have had an impact on typewriting institutes, the demand for such institutes has still not diminished, compared to the neighbouring states. Of the 3,000 institutes across the state, about 700 are in the city including those in suburbs, he said.
In the past few years, the field has seen resurgence. The government has granted approval for setting up 115 new institutions last year.
“We provide training on both manual typewriters and the computer software, ‘Type Tutor’. But we insist that the students learn on manual typewriters for speed and accuracy,” Mr. Ramaswamy said. The guild also conducts training programme for Information Technology professionals.
T.G. Santhanakrishnan, patron of Tamil Nadu Commerce Institutes Association, said that at the state-level, around 70,000 candidates take up junior or senior grade examination conducted once in six months. Of this, 25 per cent are from Chennai. The number, however, has fallen by half in the past one decade.
The state government has reduced the eligibility criterion for the examination to Class VIII, thanks to the association’s efforts.
“Manual typewriters are better than the computer typing software as the candidate gets a better experience in typing each character,” he said.
R. Rajagopalan of Speedstar Technical Iinstitute at Villivakkam said his institute has about 350 students on roll. “I have 55 typewriters in my institute that are engaged throughout the day. My institute has even class VI and VII students interested in mastering the skill.”