Mumbai: Special needs kids shine at SSC exam results
At a time when the state board is basking in the glory of its best SSC results in more than two decades, there's more than one reason to celebrate. Apart from the fact that the state's overall success rate stood at a staggering 87.72 per cent this year, according to statistics released by the board office in Pune, of the 6,132 students who appeared for the exams under the special needs category, 5,363 students passed, taking the overall pass percentage in this category to 87.46 per cent.
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"Students, doesn't matter their disability, have managed to do well across the state. More and more students have been applying for concessions under the many categories of the handicapped section and their results have been improving too," said G K Mamane, chairman, Maharashtra State Board of Secondary & Higher Secondary Education (MSBSHSE). He added that encouragement by schools will lead the numbers to increase further, and even help more children to do well in their academics.
Desire to excel
As per figures shared by the board, of the 887 students who appeared for the exams under the blind category, 93.91 per cent students passed the exams; and 321 students of the 373 students who gave the SSC exams under the spastics category passed the exam, taking the pass percentage to 86.06 per cent. Even in the Learning Disability (LD) category, 1,187 of 1,300 students passed the exam across the state, taking the overall pass percentage to 91.31 per cent.
"With concessions being made available under seven different categories by the state board, more and more students are encouraged to go beyond their handicap," added Mamane. Over the years, many schools have noticed an increase in the number of students with LD and other handicaps, beating all odds to do well in their exams. At Hansraj Morarji School in Andheri (W), five students with LD appeared for the SSC exams and all passed.
"What's commendable is that none were in the pass class, they had all scored first class (60 per cent and above) marks. One of our students who is autistic, scored 84 per cent and made us proud," said Anjana Prakash, principal of the school. Similarly, at Fr Agnel School in Vashi, eight students appeared for the exam in the special students category, and all passed with flying colours.
While schools are celebrating the success of their students' performance, activists are worried that the number of students appearing for examinations under the handicapped category is very little compared to the overall figure. Over 13 lakh students across the state appeared for the SSC examinations this year, of which only 6,132 were from the special category.
"Building ramps, toilets and hand-bars inside schools is not making schools disabled-friendly, the need of the hour is to empower and train teachers in inclusive education," said Dr Mithu Alur, founder and chairperson of ADAPT Foundation.
She added that while the Centre is announcing student-friendly education policies, the lack of political will is not helping the system. "With various versions of policies being adapted by different states, the implementation is left to the whims of school principals. Only once schools are student-friendly in the true sense will more children be encouraged to take up academics like anybody their age," said Dr Alur.
Did you know?
A total of 48,583 candidates in Maharashtra and 12,100 in Mumbai joined the elite 90-per cent club in this year's SSC examinations