Thiruvananthapuram

Help special students write exams: panel

Education Department’s demand for medical board certificate in a new format found impractical

The Kerala State Commission for Protection of Child Rights has asked the government to provide special help to children who have certificates from the district medical board for physical and learning disabilities to appear for examinations this academic year.

The commission’s recommendation comes in the wake of its finding that the Education Department’s demand for the medical board certificate in a new format and a certificate showing 40% learning disability even as the examinations were set to begin on March 10 was impractical.

Commission chairperson P. Suresh said that many differently abled students and those with learning disabilities who were to appear for the SSLC and Plus Two examinations this year were unable to do so owing to technical reasons.

Children whose IQ was above 84 were categorised as those with specific learning disability, while those students whose IQ was below 70 were categorised as mentally retarded. No consideration was given to slow learners (whose IQ was between 70 and 84) or borderline intelligent children as having specific learning disability. The Commissionerate for Persons with Disabilities too has said that doctors should recommend scribe, reader, or lab assistant or provide extra time as required taking into account the abilities of children in this category.

Against this backdrop, the Health Department should take steps to provide certificates to this category of students too.

Necessary instructions should be given to the districts authorities and children who possess valid certificates of the medical board should be allowed to sit for the examinations, the commission said.

Percentage of disability

An order issued by the Director of General Education on the basis of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act says that only students with 40% or more disability can be given special help. However, medical boards are not ready to specify the percentage of learning disability.

Taking this into account, the State Commissionerate for Persons with Disabilities has issued an order that even if the medical board certificate given to children with learning disability in State schools does not record the percentage of disability, it should be considered benchmark disability.

The commission said that students with many learning disabilities who were set to appear for the SSLC examinations this year were apprehensive about the notification issues by the General Education Department this year. So even if the medical board certificate did not mention the percentage of disability, they should be included in the category requiring special help and given consideration.

The District Education Officers should give a direction in this regard to schools, the commission said.

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Printable version | Jul 15, 2020 11:30:27 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Thiruvananthapuram/help-special-students-write-exams-panel/article31004653.ece

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