Only students who can prove 40% or more disability will be allowed amanuensis or writers during the coming Class 10 and 12 exams, the regional centre of the National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS) has stated.
The announcement came after nearly 20 parents from the city met U Raja Reddy, regional director of the NIOS, Pune, after receiving letters from the institute on March 25, allowing only extra time for their children.
The parents complained that despite submitting all the requisite medical documents proving the children’s disability, they were not allowed to have writers.
Reddy said the medical certificates did not fit into the changed rules of granting concessions to disabled students. “These grievances are a result of confusion in parents and unclear diagnosis by doctors on children’s medical certificates,” said Reddy. “The certificate says the child is a slow learner, but it does not recommend that he should be given a writer. According to our guidelines, slow learners are only given extra time [one hour].”
Reddy said the rules had changed since the last exams.
Around 20,000 students are registered with the NIOS from Mumbai. The latest guidelines state an amanuensis 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”.
This is different from the previous guidelines that said “learners with autism, cerebral palsy, multiple disabilities, visual impairment, those suffering from speech or hearing defects, dyslexic and any other disability ( such as learners with learning disability) specified as per procedure at 12.1 will be provided services of amanuensis free of charge”.
Reddy said many unauthorised centres, especially schools for special children, confidently tell parents that a writer will be made available without having any knowledge about specifications in the guidelines.
While the regional centre has decided to review the cases so that students do not suffer, mental health professionals said developmental disorders cannot be quantified.
“It is a mental agony, torture and child abuse asking for quantifiable proof of developmental disorders,” said Dr Harish Shetty, senior psychiatrist, Hiranandani Hospital, Powai. “I will move court if this continues.”