P. Akshaya's grand father, who is 97 years old, was probably the happiest to learn about her performance in the SSLC examinations. “He kept nudging me to study harder,” says the student, who topped Little Flower Convent Higher Secondary School for the Blind with a score of 490.

Mathematics is her first love and she got centum in the subject. “I can't pursue anything that has mathematics because our options are limited,” says Akshaya, who has partial blindness. History is what she would like to study.

While the prospect of limited options available did disturb them on more than one occasion, many students like Akshaya, who were able to overcome such situations, specifically thanked the scribes, family members, teachers and friends who helped them excel.

“Touch, feel learn”

Stuffed models of different animals and embossed diagrams fill up the science laboratories of the school. “Touch, feel and learn, that is what they do, we just made sure we can replicate live models of everything possible,” says V. Madonna, principal of the school. Twelve of the 13 students who took the exam scored over 84% (420/500).

Identifying the right way to communicate with a particular child with deafness depending on his memory capacity, avoiding words of different languages while explaining concepts and most importantly striking rapport with him/her is extremely important, say the teachers at Little Flower Convent Hr. Sec. School for the Deaf.

Sundays have always been special for Amudha Jayakumar, because that is the only day she gets to meet her son, Vigneshwar Jayakumar, who has total visual disability and studies at St. Louis School for the Deaf and the Blind. Vignesh stood first in the school in the Class X examination.

“My day starts at 4 a.m. as I supply milk packets to four localities. Then the tailoring work in the garment factory goes on till night. I and my husband have to work like this to ensure he gets whatever he needs,” she says. While the school recorded a 100 per cent pass in the blind section, 31 of the 34 students who attempted the exam in the deaf section managed to clear it.

Scribes rejoice

It was not just the schools for the disabled that rejoiced but scribes too. “To avoid usual problems that students have when communicating with scribes, we make sure we acquaint the scribes with mathematical terms, their translations in Tamil and the way students express geometry constructions and map placements – all in the five days of the examination,” says Sashi Rekha, teacher at Good Shepherd that was the centre for students from LFC.

“Especially important is the right way to communicate. We had students from rural places who joined us in IX standard, it was very difficult helping them register concepts,” says Sahila Jancy, Head Mistress, C.S.I. Higher Secondary School for the Deaf, which recorded a 45 per cent result. “Many of our students failed in social studies and science,” she said.

Government Higher Secondary School for Blind in Poonamallee recorded 100 per cent pass.

“The challenge begins after this, with XI class, when many school drop-outs join us. We do not have the specialised teachers needed to train them,” says David Wilson, Principal-in–charge of the school.

Five of the seven students with physical disability of different Chennai Schools who attempted the examination also managed to clear it, said education department officials of Chennai Corporation.

Keywords: SSLC results