Monday, August 17, 2009

Relief by CBSE to All Chidren who come under Definition of Disabled of PWDA- an enabling or disabling provision?

Dear Friends,

The CBSE announced a few months back certain amendments in the bye-laws thereby bringing more relief to the students with disabilities. In comparison to earlier provisions on scribes/extra time & relaxations in subjects, compulsory three languages and 75% compulsory attendance to be eligible for appearing in CBSE Board exams, we have new relaxed provisions now.

While the attendence requirements have been reduced to 60% and provisions of scribes and extra-time of 20 minutes per hour of exam etc have been allowed to all those who come under the definition of "a person with disability" within the ambit of the Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act- 1995, (in short PWDA) i.e. those with 40% and above disability. This was earlier allowed only to those with Spasticity, Blindness, and Dyslexia & those with physical disability restricting in writing and use of hands. Exemptions from third language was allowed to those with hearing impairments too!

The biggest beneficiaries will be those who did not come under any of the earlier categories allowed exemptions but this benefit would now be even available to those with physical disabilities who actually have no organ limitation in writing the examination and can write as fast as any other non-disabled child could write.

While this can be seen as a new trend to support those who are experiencing disabilities of some or the other kind and to a certain degree as required under PWDA, and to compensate for the lack of equal opportunities for them in the past. But at the same time, it might tilt the balance of convenience in the favour of those who actually don't require it at all. Also, allowing scribes/writer to those who can write for themselves will open up another pandora's box!

I feel a rethinking is necessary when it come to allowing writer /amanuensis to all the disabled children!

On the other hand we see is a cut-throat competition to achieve higher percentages; for you loose out on getting admission to your preferred college or to get selected in MAT/CAT etc merely because of a fraction of percentage in marks. Thus, those who are in genuine need of the facilities of scribes and extra time would actually be at loss in the present system of a mad fight for percentages. Tommorrow these candidates have to sit in competitive examinations like CAT/MAT etc where no extra time is given to all, as of today.

Therefore, unless the Ministry of HRD, Govt. of India, does something seriously about the percentages etc. and number of seats in the higher education, it would only allow these students to get stuck after the CBSE's exams to reach no where!

In fact I would suggest that giving extra time to students has its own advantages. The child will write only that much which he knows or has studied. By this logic, extra time can be given to any one who needs it! It reduced stress; Child performs to his best; Slow writers can even complete the exam to their satisfaction; those with impairments in writing or those using writers/scribes will also get sufficient time to complete. But then it should also be extended in other exams too which a child has to compete immediately after CBSE Exams in order to plan for his career! Otherwise, it might be considered as a stick that further disables rather than enabling!


SC Vashishth,Advocate-Disability Rights

Click here to Read the New Notification of CBSE

Click here to read the following news from source: CBSE Amends Exam Rules for Disabled Candidates

The Central Board of Secondary Education has announced certain amendments in the examination bylaws. Candidates with disabilities, as defined in the Persons with Disabilities Act, 1995, have been exempted from the examination of a third language.

The previous rule (Rule 23) covered only candidates who were blind, dyslexic or had a speech or hearing disability.

According to the new amendment, candidates covered under the Act appearing for the Secondary School Examination or Senior School Certificate Examination are permitted to use an amanuensis (writer) and will be allowed additional time.

For a three-hour paper, students will be given an extra time of 60 minutes and for an examination of two hours, the duration will be increased by 40 minutes.

Both the amendments cover autistic students as well. These candidates also have the option of studying one compulsory language as against two. “The chosen language should be in consonance with the overall spirit of the ‘Three Language Formula’ prescribed by the Board,” reads the amendment.

Earlier, a candidate (other than blind, physically challenged or spastic) had to pay the fee prescribed for the use of an amanuensis. But, according to the changed rule, the services of an amanuensis will be provided free of cost.

A new rule added to the bylaws also defines a ‘regular course of study’. A regular course of study means that students participating in sports at the national level (organised by recognised federations), shall have to maintain at least 60 per cent attendance. Candidates taking up subjects involving practicals will be required to devote at least 60 per cent of their total attendance to practical work in the laboratory.

Unless a student fulfils the requirements, he/she will not be eligible to sit for the examination. Heads of institutions have also been instructed to not allow a candidate with subjects involving practicals to take the examinations unless the attendance requirements are met as per the rules.

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