Degree examinations are soon approaching, but one set of students are facing more than just exam pangs. As has been the case from before, visually-challenged students are still struggling to find scribes. Despite a few NGOs and volunteers offering their services to students, various rules prescribed by the universities, such as the educational level of the scribe should be lower than that of the candidate, have left students worried. Most universities do not provide a scribe and leave the responsibility to the students.
Visually-challenged students, especially those who have come from other districts, said that a lack of support system to find scribes makes them more nervous than the exams themselves.
“As exams begin on March 28, I have been trying for the last one month to find a scribe and I have had no luck. Even during my II PU exams, I struggled the same way. Our future is dependent on them and yet some of them cancel the last minute and leave us in a quandary,” said Santosh M.P., a student from Vijayapura studying in a college affiliated to Bangalore University.
Another student from Chikkamagaluru, Dileep, studying under Bangalore University, also shared a similar ordeal. “If I were in my hometown, I could have at least taken my younger brother or a family member. What do I do here? A few years ago, the situation was not this bad, but now some people even demand money for it and we cannot afford that. We get very little support from our college or varsity.” He added that with NEP around, even Braille textbooks were not available for some newer subjects.
The students said that if universities had designated scribes, it would save them a lot of distress during exam seasons. “The Education Department needs awareness about the problems faced by these students. They need to create an ecosystem to find scribes. These problems are existent not just for degree students, but across the board, even for competitive exams,” said Muthuraj, a volunteer, who works with visually-challenged students as well as scribes.
The officials at Bangalore University and Bangalore North University acknowledged that they do not provide scribes, but did not say much about why they do not. They said that the students must inform the principals of their college a couple weeks before the examination about their scribe and also provide a medical certificate. They also said that the scribes should neither be studying in the same stream as the candidate nor should they be more educated.
Similar rules in KSEAB
The Karnataka School Examination and Assessment Board (KSEAB) also said that the students are usually expected to bring their own scribes for SSLC and PUC exams. “The students have to take permission at the DDPI level and provide medical certificates. In some districts, if the students cannot find scribes at all, then the DDPI arranges for a government school or college student to help them out,” said Prasanna Kumar, senior assistant director (examination), KSEAB.