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Visually challenged students feel 'handicapped' with Class VI writers

SSC students who opted for Arithmetic of class VII, claim that their assigned writers are too young to write the lengthy paper for them

If appearing for the Secondary School Certificate (SSC) exam wasn’t challenging enough for visually impaired students, their assigned writers seem to be dampening their efforts. According to the students who opted for Arithmetic of Class VII, the Class VI writers assigned to them are too young to write their paper.

The board rule states that an SSC student opting for a writer will be assigned from a standard lower, primarily a Class IX student. However, following the same guidelines, visually impaired students who opt for Arithmetic as their subject (with Class VII syllabus) will be assigned a student from Class VI.

Sushmita Kale (name changed), a visually challenged SSC student of Smt Kamla Mehta Dadar School for the Blind, said, “I have opted for Class VII Arithmetic and it will be difficult to work with a Class VI writer. I agree that a writer should ideally be from one standard lower, but the challenge with a young student is that he/she will most likely be a slow writer and might make a lot of mistakes.” Others, like SSC student Ratan Dubey, feel the lack of a question paper in Braille will hamper their chances.

Shalan Chavan, principal of The Victoria Memorial School for the Blind, stated, “Two years ago, we presented these issues to the Board. We also requested them to prepare questions in Braille. However, we did not
get any favourable response from them.”

“While we counsel the Class VI writer so that the he/she can coordinate well with the SSC student, they are too young to write the lengthy paper. They are bound to commit mistakes,” she added. The principal of Happy Home and School for the Blind, Snehal Joshi, said, “The young students do make mistakes while writing the paper of SSC students. We try to train visually impaired students in a proper method to dictate their answers.”

Board provisions for students
>> Concession of 20 minutes for every one hour paper
>> Allowing to opt for a writer
>> Students who opt for Arithmetic can also choose from subjects like Book Binding, Computers, etc. as there is no geometry in the syllabus of Class VII Arithmetic

The other side
When MiD DAY contacted G K Mhamane, chairperson of the Maharashtra State Board Secondary and Higher Secondary Education (MSBSHSE), he said, “We provide many concessions to physically challenged students appearing for board exams. We have not received any request from visually impaired students or their schools to prepare question papers in Braille.”

Studentspeak


My challenge while appearing for the paper with a Class IX writer will be my inability to solve geometry questions. While a writer is of great help, I won’t be able to evaluate geometry diagrams.
- Ratan Dubey, partially sighted SSC student of The Victoria Memorial School for the Blind, who opted for General Maths


Class VI students are too young to be our writers and can make a lot of mistakes in the paper, which we will be unable to see.
- Ashwin Waghmare and Prahlad More, visually impaired SSC students of The Victoria Memorial School for the Blind, who opted for Arithmetic of Class VII

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