SEARCH

Cities » Chennai

Updated: December 30, 2013 09:14 IST

A question paper Miranda could read

Asha Sridhar
Comment   ·   print   ·   T  T  
Miranda Tomkinson appeared for the National Eligibility Test to be eligible for the post of assistant professor. Photo: M. Vedhan
The Hindu Miranda Tomkinson appeared for the National Eligibility Test to be eligible for the post of assistant professor. Photo: M. Vedhan

Small victory for rights activists as visually-impaired man takes UGC test in Braille

On Sunday, when 35-year-old Miranda Tomkinson took the national eligibility test (NET) of the University Grants Commission (UGC) at a private college in the city, for the first time in his life, he read the questions without the help of a scribe.

Not just that, the visually-impaired Tomkinson also read out the answers to his scribe with the help of the Braille question paper.

He walked out of the examination hall with the question paper, almost like everybody else. He can now store his question paper and more importantly, refer to it without anybody’s help. This was not possible before.

Tomkinson, who also has a degenerative hearing disorder, was able to get a Braille question paper on Sunday after a year-long struggle and a host of representations, including an RTI petition, to UGC.

On Friday, the Madras High Court directed UGC to set the paper for the visually impaired in Braille. Tomkinson was writing the exam to be eligible for the post of assistant professor.

Smitha Sadasivam, assistant coordinator, disability legislation unit of Vidya Sagar, which took up his cause, said this was the first time the UGC had given a Braille question paper and the case had set a precedent.

“I cannot forget this day,” said Tomkinson after a day spent writing paper I, II and III of the Test. “In the absence of communication, it is not possible to accomplish anything,” he said.

Though it was a victory for Tomkinson on Sunday, Sadasivam said, as per court order, the facility should have been extended to all the visually-impaired candidates who appeared for the Test. According to information from University of Madras, which conducted the exam in Chennai, over 14,000 candidates registered for the examination in the city. Of these, around 164 candidates were visually impaired.

According to an office memorandum of the department of disability affairs, ministry of social justice and empowerment, that speaks of guidelines for conducting written examinations for persons with disabilities, “Persons with disabilities should be given the option of choosing the mode for taking the examinations, i.e. in Braille, or on the computer or in large print or even by recording the answers as the examining bodies can easily make use of technology to convert question paper in large prints, e-text, or Braille and can also convert Braille text in English or regional languages.”

UGC officials were unavailable for comment.

More In: Chennai | News
This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Reporter Alerts


100, and counting
Here, we profile colleges in the city that have, for about 100 years or more, moulded young adults and prepared them for the outside world.

Animal planet in Chennai
With Madras Corporation taking charge by 1866, the Madras Zoo as it was called, became the country’s first public zoo to be formed.

>Purasawalkam: From old town to shopping hub
Vellala Street off Purasawalkam High Road mirrors the metamorphosis that the once quaint neighbourhood has undergone over the past three decades.
More...

Commonwealth Games 2014
Kashyap and Sindhu enter semifinals with ease
Indian medal hopes P. Kashyap and P.V. Sindhu made their way into the men’s and women’s singles semifinals.

Sharath Kamal on course in singles; in doubles final with Amalraj
Achanta Sharath Kamal entered the men’s table tennis singles semifinals by beating England’s Paul Drinkhall.

Seema Punia takes discus silver
Seema Punia gave India a second track and field medal by clinching the silver in women’s discus throw.
More...
Gujarat, Rajasthan and Punjab: The Need for a Border States Group

The aim of the research report by Tridivesh Singh Maini is to examine the approach of the political leadership, as well as the business community, in three ‘border States’ towards India-Pakistan ties.This paper has sought to look at a number of factors, which include politics, economics as well as security issues.Read Article »

In Pizza, Karthik Subbaraj displayed a talent for the twist, but that was simply at the level of the narrative. In his second feature, Jigarthanda, Subbaraj pulls the rug out from under the tradit... »

  • facebook Facebook
  • twitter Twitter

Resources

More Resources »

Sunday Magazine

More Sunday Magazine »

Friday Review

More Friday Review »

Habitat

More Habitat »

Young World

More Young World »

O
P
E
N

close

Recent Article in Chennai

Grant visa to UN panel: PUCL

The People’s Union for Civil Liberties on Friday urged the Centre to grant visa to the three-member panel of the United Nations Human Ri... »