Even as the Bombay high court decided to hear the issue of differently-abled students not being allowed writers for their Class 10 and 12 exams conducted by National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS), the institute, in a relief to students, said that candidates will be allowed to use writers during the exam.
Last week, parents were told by NIOS that instead of the use of writers, the students will be allowed an additional time of one hour for the exams scheduled next week.
U Raja Reddy, regional director of the NIOS, Pune, while speaking to HT on Tuesday said, “After several discussions and complaints received from the parents, we have principally agreed on granting writers to all the students this year. We are going to reconsider our decision for this year as most of the parents were not aware about the new rule. We do not want students to suffer.”
Around 20,000 students are registered with the NIOS from Mumbai. On March 25, parents received letters from the regional office of NIOS allowing an additional hour for their children instead of writers. The latest guidelines state that an amanuensis or writer is provided for “blind, differently abled, spastic candidates, with disabilities as defined in the Persons with Disabilities Act, 1995, with a disability of 40% or more.”
On March 30, after parents from the city met the director to complain, the regional office of NIOS clarified that the new rule allowed writers only for students who can prove 40% or more disability.
While the regional centre decided to review the decision so that students do not suffer, mental health professionals said developmental disorders cannot be quantified. “It is a criminal offence. In our prayer to the Bombay high court, we have requested that the concerned official should be punished,” said Dr Harish Shetty, senior psychiatrist, Hiranandani Hospital, Powai who along with Dr Sanghanayak Meshram, senior psychiatrist approached the court on Tuesday.
J Ramesh, a parent from Andheri (East) said, “It is unfortunate that no other regional centre created such confusion and panic. The NIOS should also reconsider the new rule allowing writer for those students who can prove 40 % or more disability.”