Volume 6 Issue 1 - June 15, 2009

Disabled students shine in C.B.S.E. examinations

Students with disability have excelled in this years C.B.S.E. examinations. Dorodi Sharma of D.N.I.S. takes a look at the results to find out if it is just a small step towards inclusive education or a sign of growing understanding of the education system towards students with disability.

Anuj Goel always had his sight set on a seat in S.R.C.C. And he is more than sure of getting one. This boy from Delhis Rajkiya Pratibha Vikas Vidyalaya, Shalimar Bagh has scored 96.7 percent in his class XII exams.

Anuj suffers from a high degree of myopia and nystagmus. But that did not stop him from topping among Delhis government schools and also among the 1,034 disabled students who took the exams this year.

Anuj is not the only disabled student who excelled in this years examinations. He has a few more for company. 1,683 students had appeared in the special category this year, of which 1,097 were boys and 601 were girls. Their pass percentage was 90.08 percent with Chennai topping the list with a pass percentage of 95.63 percent. 952 students with disability scored above 60 percent, of which 38 scored 90 percent and above.

Do these results point towards a growing sensitivity of the education system towards the needs of disabled students?

Anuj says there is a better understanding about it than before.

My school, teachers and friends were very co-operative. I could not see the black board even from the first row, so my friends helped me in taking notes in class. I never faced any discrimination because of my disability, he said.

The Central Board of Secondary Education (C.B.S.E.) had made quite a few provisions for disabled students appearing for the examinations. This included special provisions for visually impaired students, who could write their examinations at 14 centres, specially allotted for them. Students were also allowed the use of a writer chosen by the Centre Superintendent of the examination.

As per the new set of rules, the special category students were also given an hour of extra time for a paper which is originally of three hours duration, 50 minutes for a paper of 2.5 hours duration, 40 minutes for papers of two hours duration and 30 minutes of extra time for papers of 1.5 hours duration.

Besides these, the Board also facilitated an alternate question paper for such candidates, which had visual inputs in the English Communicative and Social Science papers for Class X and History, Geography, Economics and Political Science for Class XI.

Also, there were separate question papers in enlarged prints for mathematics and science in the Class X examination.

Students with visual impairment in Delhi were also provided the facility of computer or typewriter for giving examinations.

Most of the students who excelled were from metros and also from private schools. Does that mean government run schools are not conducive for disabled students?

Not if we are to agree with Anuj, who says that it is a common notion that government run schools do not have proper facilities.

I cannot say about all schools but this is definitely not true about my school. It provided me with all the facilities that I needed.

The results this year have given hope to hundreds of students with disability in the country. It also marks a changing attitude of the Indian education system towards the need of students with disability. But there is a disturbing fact which undermines the results. Every year more than 1000 students appear in the disabled category. Delhi University has around 1500 seats reserved for students with disability. But every year more than 1000 seats remain vacant. The C.B.S.E. results may have opened newer avenues for students with disabilities but this is just a small step towards a greater vision of inclusive education - a vision that needs much more than this to become a reality.

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