Nivya Subramanian, a first-year student of postgraduate diploma in Shri Ram College of Commerce, suffers from locomotor disability. Because of her disability, she can't write fast enough to finish her exam in three hours.
But things are soon going to change for Nivya and others like her.
Thanks to the University Grants Commission (UGC) decision, even students, who are not visually challenged, can take their exams on computer. This new development comes as a breather to students with muscular dystrophy (weakening of muscles), cerebral palsy and locomotor disability who can't write with their hands. In such situations, students, until now, were allowed to take the help of exam scribes.
On January 27, Delhi University's (DU) registrar office received a letter from TD Dhariyal, deputy chief commissioner for persons with disabilities, ministry of social justice and empowerment, paving the way for such students to write exams on computers. Earlier only those suffering from visual impairment were allowed to take exams on computers.
TD Dhariyal, on whose request this decision was taken by the UGC, finds this move as a paradigm shift in the education system.
"It clearly shows that attitude of authorities are changing. They are becoming more considerate to the persons with disabilities. With this decision, more disabled students will feel motivated (to pursue further studies)."
Though the Delhi University has accepted the proposal in principle, the implementation is not expected to be easy. "We had our first meeting recently (on Wednesday) and need more deliberations. But we will try to do it for the welfare of disabled students," said Dr Suman Verma, joint dean, Students' Welfare.
Authorities in Equal Opportunities Cell, however, sensed reluctance on the part of the examination branch. "They say there is not (requisite) infrastructure to execute this. But we argued that every college has been given 80 computers recently," said Dr Nisha Singh, officer on special duty, Equal Opportunity Cell, who attended the meeting on this issue with examination branch on Wednesday.
In spite of all these stumbling blocks, Singh is hopeful. "We are pushing for the new policy to roll out from this year onwards," she said.