Mumbai: Writers get smart, demand more money for HSC exam

The parents of students with disabilities are forced to pay them the amounts they ask, to ensure their kids get a good writer

If appearing for the board exams is not worrisome enough, many students also have to worry about their dependence on a stranger to write their papers. The demand for writers is increasing with every passing year, and colleges and parents are not happy about the commercialisation of this profile, as many writers have started demanding higher payments.

Sudarshan Shetty, a student of Shardashram Vidyamandir Junior college who met with an accident before appearing for his HSC exams, sat in an ambulance and wrote his answer paper with the help of a writer. File picture for representation
Sudarshan Shetty, a student of Shardashram Vidyamandir Junior college who met with an accident before appearing for his HSC exams, sat in an ambulance and wrote his answer paper with the help of a writer. File picture for representation

While the Maharashtra State Board for Secondary and Higher Secondary Education (MSBSHSE) has stipulated Rs 200 per paper for writers, some parents have highlighted how some writers are demanding as much as Rs 2,000-3,000 per paper. Helpless, most parents end up paying this amount just to make sure that their children get a good writer for the board exams.

“The board rule specifies that a writer should be from a grade lower than that of the candidate, and the student can nominate a writer and get the same approved by the board. Writers have become quite smart these days, and easily demand more money, knowing that the HSC students and parents will fall prey,” said the principal of a south Mumbai college.

She added that many students also lure board examinees with ‘special offers’ studying the HSC syllabus. “Parents have also told me that some Std XI students have agreed to study the Std XII syllabus for the benefit of the candidate, justify the extra money they charge,” added the principal.

Finding an appropriate writer for their children is also a big deal for parents. “My daughter met with an accident just three days before the board exams were scheduled to begin and she needed a writer. We posted this message on all social networking sites and the ones who came forward asked for R600-750 per paper. We agreed, because we had no option,” said the mother of an HSC student.

“The fact that writers are now ready to study board exam portion shows the desperate need for the state board to put in a screening process. This will ensure rules are followed and that parents don’t get fleeced,” added another principal.

Process to find writers
>> In case of autism/learning disability (LD), the student has to submit official documents, approved by a state government approved testing centres, proving their disability and why they need a writer

>> In case of physical disability, the student has to submit official documents, approved by a state government approved testing centers

>> In special cases (eg. If a student meets with an accident before the exams or on the day of the exam) the examinee can directly contact the board or their college and ask for a writer. The board is usually able to arrange for the same within a matter of minutes

>> A writer simply needs to be from a lower grade, and should have an identity card (preferably their school/college ID)

>> The board stipulates Rs 200 per paper for writers

Finding writers
Many colleges have put in place a proper process that helps their students who need writers during board exams. At H R College in Churchgate, a special cell puts together a list of top students from Std XI who are willing to volunteer as writers for students with LD or any other forms of disability during their board exams.

“Thanks to this, we make sure that our students get the best possible substitute and don’t fall prey to the wrong people,” said Indu Shahani, principal of the college. Similarly St Andrew’s College in Bandra encourages their Std XI students to help others and often have more writers available than students who need the benefit of writers.

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