There is an increase in the number of students from the disabled category appearing for the state board's SSC and HSC examinations this year. According to the Maharashtra State Board of Secondary and Higher Secondary Education (MSBSHSE), this year more than 12,000 students from various differently-abled categories, including visually impaired, deaf, dumb, orthopaedic, autistic, spastic and those with other learning disabilities, are set to appear for the exams that start from next week. Last year the number of differently-abled students for HSC and SSC exams was around 10,000.
According to the statistics provided by the state board, the numbers of students in each category has increased in both the standards compared to the data for March 2011, especially in visually impaired, orthopaedic and deaf categories.
"There has been only a slight increase in the numbers, which augments every year. It usually depends on how many students apply for their disabled certificate and concessions every year. At times, since students don't approach us, they are not allocated their certificates," said Sarjerao Jadhav, chairperson, MSBSHSE.
In the visually impaired category, there will be 1,045 and 1,002 students appearing for the HSC and SSC exams respectively. Last year there were only 849 such students for HSC and 868 for SSC. In the deaf category, the numbers have increased to 462 for HSC and 1,078 for SSC from 369 and 971 last year. Officials from the board say compared to last year there is a 15 per cent increase in the number of students who have applied for the SSC exam, while the rise is 30 per cent for HSC.
"We'll be giving these handicapped students some concessions, like the disabled will be given 20 minutes extra for every one-hour paper, while the visually impaired will be allotted writers, who'll have to write papers for all subjects," Jadhav said.
The written examination will carry 30 marks for each paper, while 20 marks have been allotted for practicals, to be conducted by the school. The remaining 20 marks will be given for a multiple-choice question paper, which will also be conducted by the schools.