College students with special needs will also get the concessions that are given to higher secondary students, the Maharashtra government announced on Saturday.
For years, Class 1 to Class 12 students with special needs have been given concessions such as writers and extra time during all examinations. Students with physical disabilities were also allotted exam centres close to home. A 2006 Supreme Court order had made similar concessions available for students with learning disabilities too.
However, this is the first time that the state has released a similar uniform policy for students pursuing higher education as well. Until now, colleges and universities permitted certain concessions at their own discretion. Henceforth, students from colleges and universities across the state can avail these concessions.
The state released a government resolution (GR), stating that there will be uniform rules for schools and colleges. “From the beginning, we were clear that students with special needs should not be at a disadvantage. As concessions are available till the higher secondary level, the same should be extended to higher education too,” said a statement released by the state education minister, Vinod Tawde.
The state government formed a special committee to put together these concessions.
Students with special needs will now be allowed to appear for an exam at a college or university close to home, they will be given 20 minutes extra to complete their paper. Depending on the subject, students will also be allowed to use magnifying glasses and calculators. Grace marks and writers will be given according to the students’ requirements.
Many colleges have gone out of their way to help college and university students in the state. “Colleges used their discretionary powers to give such students writers and extra time to complete their exam, but never has there been a uniform rule. Such decisions from the government are a welcome move,” said Sobhana Vasudevan, principal of R A Podar College in Matunga.