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SSC exams: Students with thalassaemia get 20 extra mins, but Board has no record of them

While the government approved extra 20 minutes to students suffering from thalassaemia last year, they seem to have merged their data with that of students with learning disability

This year, 908 students with learning disability are appearing for the Secondary School Certificate (SSC) exam.

Out of 908 learning disability students, the state has not separately recorded the number of students suffering from thalassaemia. File pic
Out of 908 learning disability students, the state has not separately recorded the number of students suffering from thalassaemia. File pic

However, while collating this data, the Maharashtra state board of secondary and higher secondary education (MSBSHSE) has not kept any count of the number of students who suffer from thalassaemia, an inherited form of anaemia caused by faulty synthesis of haemoglobin.

Last year, Dr Vinky Rughwani, president of the Thalassaemia Society of India, proposed the provision of extra 20 minutes after every one-hour of the paper for students suffering from the disorder.

The state government approved the same for all students suffering from any form of learning disability. While the Mumbai division board kept a record of the number of SSC students with learning disability, they claim that children suffering from thalassaemia have been merged in the data.

'We need awareness'
According to the Nagpur doctor, there is not much awareness about the concession for thalassaemia students in schools.

Dr Rughwani said, “The board should have sent a notice to all the schools about the concession. We hope that next year there is more awareness about the disorder and the provision.”

When checked with Krishnakumar Patil, secretary of MSBSHSE, Pune, he said, “We don’t have any specific data about thalassaemia students appearing for SSC exams. Maybe the divisional board has the data.”

A similar response was given by Laxmikant Pandey, chairman of Mumbai division board, who said, “We have not kept any separate data of the number of students suffering from thalassaemia who applied for the provision. We merged all learning disability students together.”

3,76,892
Total SSC students appearing from Mumbai

908
SSC students with learning disability

2,946
Total SSC students with some form of disability

What is thalassaemia?
It is a disorder caused by weakening and destruction of red blood cells, due to variant or missing genes, that affects how human body produces haemoglobin. People with thalassaemia tend to make less haemoglobin, resulting in mild or severe anaemia.

>> No separate records of SSC students suffering from thalassaemia 
>> The provision of extra 20 minutes was approved last year 
>> Board should have sent a notice to schools about the provision, says expert

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