The Karnataka State Open University (KSOU), Mysore, has turned into an institution that cares for the differently abled. For, the university, which is expanding its Muktagangotri campus, adding new structures and facilities to support its growing academic activities, has taken a conscious decision of conducting examinations for special students from their own place of convenience. The decision has come as a big relief for such students hailing from different parts of the State who find it difficult to reach the examination centres primarily because of their condition.
Nevertheless, the university will take a final call on making special arrangements for them to write the examinations.
The university has resolved to consider only genuine cases.
“The university will decide on case-by-case basis. Only in genuine cases will we make special arrangements for the disabled students to write the examination from their homes,” KSOU Registrar B.S. Vishwanath told The Hindu .
What prompted the university to take such a decision?
Ramesh G. Hegde, a 30-year-old youth from Sirsi in Uttara Kannada district, who suffers from a rare congenital bone disease, had requested the university to allow him write the first year B.A. examination from his residence as he was unable to venture out.
Mr. Vishwanath said Ramesh's request was placed before a committee headed by Vice-Chancellor M.G. Krishnan. “The committee discussed the case, going into the reasons cited by him for making the request.” Touched by his plight, the Vice-Chancellor decided to heed his request.
Ramesh, who suffers from Osteogenesis Imperfecta, also known as ‘brittle bone disease’, is bedridden and cannot move out of his home.
The examination branch of the KSOU has been asked to make special arrangements at the residence of Ramesh, who is very determined to pursue his studies despite his disease. K.J. Suresh, Registrar, Evaluation, KSOU has been given the responsibility of overseeing the arrangements.
The Registrar said, “Ramesh was rendered immobile by the genetic disorder which has an occurrence of one in hundred thousand births. He suffers from severe bone deformity, spinal curvature and lack of muscle tone and has been certified to be suffering from 100 percent physical impairment.”
Mr. Vishwanath described it as a "first of its kind" arrangement where in a student of a university is allowed to write the examination from his residence.
The case of Ramesh may serve as an example for many other special students enrolled in the university to seek such provision placing their case before the university authorities.
The university has taken several steps to make education under distance mode for differently-abled students convenient. It has resolved to adopt a series of reforms to extend support services to students who have physical deformity, blindness, autism and dyslexia.
The steps taken on the request of Ramesh are part of the exercise.
At the meeting, Prof. Krishnan said the KSOU will monitor the needs of special students as their requirements will have to be customised while extending the educational facilities.
Policy on disabled
Prof. Krishnan said he will formulate a policy to give extra time in each paper to differently-abled students in the examination. Such measures would encourage them to compete with able bodied students.
Teaching from home
If everything goes according to the plan, special educators may be deputed to teach special students, if necessary, at their homes as the university is also planning to extend their services round the year. “The VC has said the KSOU will adopt a humanistic approach and will not allow the talent of disabled to go waste just because they are the victims of some kind of disability,” according to Mr. Vishwanath.
The Registrar said the buildings coming up in Muktagangotri will be equipped with ramps and elevators, providing easy access to all storeys for disabled students. The buildings will also be barrier-free.
The differently abled can write exams from home, on a selective basis