Educators and child development specialists in Mumbai have demanded more concessions for disabled students taking the Senior Secondary Certificate (SSC) exams, in line with the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE). After the government notified The Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act in December last year, the CBSE has revised its facilities for disabled students, recognising 21 disabilities during class 10, 12 exams.
The central board sent a notice to its schools asking them to accommodate specified disabilities as defined in the December 28 notification regarding the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act. Under the act, the types of disabilities have been increased from the existing seven to 21.
The newly added types include mental illness, autism spectrum disorder, cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, chronic neurological conditions, specific learning disabilities, multiple sclerosis, speech and Language disability, thalassemia, hemophilia, sickle cell disease, multiple disabilities including deaf blindness, acid attack victims and Parkinsons disease.
According to the new CBSE circular, candidates with disabilities as defined in the Act, will have an option of studying one language instead of two. They can choose mathematics, home science, music, information technology, painting and other alternatives to second language.
Additionally, the cumulative grade point average (CGPA) will only be counted from five subjects even if the child has opted for a vocational sixth subject. CGPA is usually out of six subjects for regular students.
Other measures include permitting them to use scribes or compensatory time . These steps will bring flexibility in subjects and encourage students to study in mainstream schools.
It has been reiterated that it will be the school’s responsibility to ensure that no child with disabilities is denied admission and to monitor their enrolment.
Similar steps need to be taken by the Maharashtra state board, said experts. “Like the RTE Act, the new disabilities act is applicable to all states, but surprisingly, Maharashtra has remained silent on it,” said Rekha Vijaykar, director of Abled Disabled All People Together (ADAPT), a non-government organisation working for the differently-abled.