State finally circulates list of concessions for disabled students
The Maharashtra Board of Secondary and Higher Secondary Education (MSBSHSE) recently compiled a detailed list of concessions offered to students with disabilities appearing for the SSC examinations.
The ICSE board allows students with certain disabilities to type out their answers on a computer. Pic/Thinkstock
The list compiled by the state board mentions concessions for students under seven categories of disabilities: visually challenged, hearing and speech impaired, orthopaedically handicapped, spastics and those affected by cerebral palsy, those with learning disabilities (LD) and those suffering from autism.
“The list will be distributed to all state board schools and uploaded on the board’s website soon. Schools are also expected to put up this list on their notice board,” said a state board official. This decision came after many parents complained to the state board that schools were not very co-operative in giving their children the appropriate concessions.
Educationists blamed this on the laid-back attitude of the board because even after the Supreme Court made a series of concessions (see box) available for students with various forms of disabilities, the education boards are still lagging behind in the proper implementation of the same.
“Parents often come to us with their problems as schools don’t give them the appropriate information and even the board’s website is of no help. So we help them with the information and ask them to demand the same from their school,” said Chitra Iyer, from Forum For Autism (FFA).
The state board exempts students with learning disabilities from studying a third language like Hindi or Marathi, and instead, allows them to take up any vocational subject. However, state board students with LD struggle, as all the textbooks for the 30-odd vocational subjects are available only in Marathi.
“They are trying to enable students to study further but disabling them from doing so by not providing them the right study material. My son is struggling with the vocational subject as the notes are available only in Marathi,” said S Sen, father of a student with LD. For the past two years,
Sen has been running from pillar to post to get a translation for all the vocational subjects textbooks, but to no avail. “I have also agreed to find a translator for the board, but they refuse to make any changes,” he added. While both the ICSE and CBSE boards have implemented, and even gone beyond, the concessions laid down by the Supreme Court in 2006, the state board still seems to be struggling to implement even the basic concessions.
The Cambridge board, on the other hand, provides students with the option of choosing between ‘advance’ and ‘core’ subjects. “Students with LD are recommended to opt for core subjects, which are easier to cope with, as compared to advance subjects.
International schools do give the advantage of extra time during exams as well as writers for students with learning disabilities after approval by the Cambridge International Examination (CIE) board, provided they submit the required documents,” said Kavita Aggarwal, principal of D G Khetan International School, Malad.
Concessions in SSC/HSC
Concessions in SSC/ HSC (Maharashtra State Board):
>> SSC students are given 30 minutes of extra time, while HSC students are given an hour extra to write their papers.
>> SSC students are exempted from studying a third language like Hindi or Marathi. Instead, they can take up a vocational subject.
>> HSC students may take a vocational subject instead of the second language.
>> SSC students are exempted from paper II in Mathematics (Algebra and Geometry). Students may take a vocational subject of 75 marks in lieu of Mathematics paper II.
>> All students get 20 grace marks in board exams.
>> Students with any form of handicap (physical or mental) are also allowed writers
>> Blind/deaf students are allowed to use tape-recorders in classrooms during lessons
>> Cursive writing is not enforced
>> Fifteen minutes extra time per hour, or 25 per cent of the total time extra
>> Exemption from second language
>> Students are allowed to use calculators for Mathematics in case of some disabilities.
>> A writer is allowed, if the protocol is followed for one
>> The question paper is read out, without being explained in any way, to candidates who have defective eyesight or a certified reading disability
>> The council also has special arrangements for candidates who, due to some reason, have to take the examinations from a hospital
>> The students are allowed to type out the answers on a computer.
>> The Council may allow a spastic candidate up to a maximum of double the time allotted for the candidate to complete the paper, provided he/she is kept incommunicado during that particular examination, each time.
>> Such candidates at the examination may be allowed the use of a computer to type the answers with special permission from the Council.
Candidates suffering from Specific Learning Disabilities (Dyslexia, Dysgraphia, Dyscalculia, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD):
>> Students are exempted from studying a second language in cases that warrant such an exemption.
>> Additional time can be allowed.
>> The use of a reader or reader-cum-writer is allowed, in a separate room adjacent to the main examination hall, under supervision
>> The question paper may be read out, but not explained in any way to the candidate(s).
>> Scientific calculators can be used for mathematical calculations.
>> The use of a writer is allowed
>> An additional hour is given for each paper.
>> One compulsory language as against two in addition to any four of the following subjects: math, science, social science, another language, music, painting and home science.
>> Leniency in paper assessment; spelling mistakes are overlooked for students with LD.