The Directorate of Government Examinations has provided for students with visual impairment the services of scribes and also an additional hour's time for the examination.

Apart from visual impairment, students with other disabilities such as learning disability or students who are unable to write due to an injury were also being allowed to engage scribes and avail themselves of the additional time, if they produced medical documents explaining their condition.

School Education Minister Thangam Thennarasu told The Hindu that the department had been working with various sections of persons with disability over the past year in order to find out how best to help them express themselves in examinations.

It had drawn up broad guidelines and had sensitised the various directorates on the special needs of some groups of students.

He said that this was part of the Chief Minister's efforts to make available equal opportunities for all students in the State. Subha Vaidyanathan, academic coordinator of the Madras Dyslexia Association said the last two years saw some operational hiccups and therefore proved a little difficult for parents. “This year, we have students appearing for the upcoming class X examinations and we hope things are smoother. Not all children need the concession. It has to be on a case by case basis.”

"Plus Two exams got underway on March 1. Unlike last year there has not been an issue with extra facilities like additional time required by students with disability to write their exam," said Rajiv Rajan, Coordinator, Disability Legislation Unit, South, Vidya Sagar, welcoming the move. The DLU viewed it as a step in the right direction and hoped that this will continue during the 10th public exams and the exams in the years ahead.

"We would like to bring to your notice that it would be good for students with neurological impairments and other disabilities, who uses the services of a scribe /or charts/ or AAC(Alternative and Augmentative Communication) devices to communicate, get alternative questions for questions that require diagrams. This will cater to the universal design and access as mandated by the UNCRPD. All these exemptions must be a part of the application form for examination itself and the students should not be expected to run from pillar to post to get these exemptions," he added.

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Meera SrinivasanJune 28, 2012