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Disabled children to counter ‘paper chasing’ in University of Madras

D.N.I.S. News Network In a move not attempted till date by any university in India, the University of Madras has started using the services of disabled students to check the practice of answer paper chasing. The university move is a result of the answer paper scam that rocked academic circles in the last week of April.

The first batch of 20 hearing and speech impaired children began giving dummy numbers to answer papers starting June 2006. Children aged 15 and above have been drawn from care-giver institutions. Earlier, piece-rate workers were used for the dummy numbering, but they turned out to be the main conduits for paper chasing. Thus the university plans to continue with the services of disabled children in future too.

But the most disturbing aspect of this move is the reason the concerned authorities have given for choosing these children. University authorities have stated that hearing and speech impaired children have been chosen because of their inability to communicate easily with others and reveal the dummy numbers.

Many child and disability rights activists have already questioned the rationale behind the move as they felt that it would enhance the feeling of disability among the children rather than mitigate it. Moreover, the very logic of the children not being able to communicate easily is flawed because the children can use sign language. The fact that these children are from institutions and have no family to stand up for them is also worrying.