Three days after the examinations have started at Panjab University (PU) and across its affiliated colleges, around 70 visually-impaired students in the city are still struggling to get writers to appear on their behalf for examinations.
It was last year when the controller of examinations, PU, had written to the director/chairpersons/principals, all affiliated institutes, departments and colleges of the university to make adequate arrangements to provide a writer for visually impaired/disabled students during the examinations, but the directions were never implemented.
Surprisingly, the college heads say that it is not their responsibility to provide writers to students, but they support them by not charging them any fee and also offer free-of-cost accommodation on the campus.
Principal of DAV College, Sector 10, BC Josan said, “We have five to six blind students in the college, but we do not directly provide writers as students arrange their writers themselves. We just take the permission from the university.”
While principal of the Post Graduate Government College, Sector 11, JS Raghu said, “The visually-challanged students of our college approach the government school students and request them to write exams on their behalf. It is not our responsibility to provide the writers, but we have asked the university authorities if we could provide transportation facilities to them.”
issued According to some of PU’s visually-impaired students, who have not got any writers to date, said, “There was not much problem in finding the writers in the previous years, since there was no semester system and school students helped us in writing the exams in April. Now with semester system, school students cannot help since their own exams are going on at present.”
One of the visually-challenged students of PU Shiv Kumar, who is preparing for his master’s exams, said, “It’s disappointing to see that the university has failed to implement its own order of providing a writer to us. Besides preparing for the exams, looking for a writer is like an extra burden on us. The candidates who do not get the writers at the last moment miss their exams. Who is to be blamed for this?”
Similarly, another MA student Amrinder said, “The university rankings have drastically come down. Considering such conditions where the visually-impaired students are not taken care of, the university’s name should not be included in the rankings.”
One of the students’ organisation of PU, Ambedkar Students Associations (ASA), has been helping the visually-impaired students on the campus by providing voluntary help during the examinations.
ASA president Vijay said, “Despite having submitted several representations to the controller of examinations, dean university instructions (DUI), nothing has been done so far in this regard.”
However, controller of examinations, PU, Dr Parvinder Singh admitted the fact that his office had communicated to all departments and affiliated colleges to provide writers to the visually-impaired students. Dr Parvinder said, “Keeping in mind the problems of the visually-impaired students, our responsibility was to direct all departments on the campus and the colleges to provide writers but then later, it was on them that how they identify the writers for the blind students and it is their duty to work out the modalities. They were free to prepare a panel of writers.”
He also added, “Till date, no one has approached me with complaints about the visually impaired students struggling to find the writers.”