Saylee Nikam, 19, a vision-impaired student, has still not found a writer to write her answer papers. She is appearing for the SSC exam from IES Vidya Mandir in Kandivli from March1.
“All my hard work will be wasted, if I do not find a writer in time,” Nikam says.
The state education board grants concessions to vision-impaired students including the use of a writer, dropping two languages and opting for exams in vocational subjects.
This year, 1,045 vision-impaired students will appear for the HSC (Class 12) exams and 1002 students will appear for the SSC exam.
The rules of the Maharashtra State Board of Secondary and Higher Secondary Education (MSBSHSE) state that a Class 10 student should opt for a writer who is in Class 9. A HSC student can opt for a writer studying in Class 11.
“Finding writers is very difficult. We often go to schools looking for volunteers, but have not yet found writers for 12 students yet,” said Asha Kanse, a special educator with the National Association of the Blind (NAB).
Finding a writer in time is imperative. “Both writer and the student must be perfectly synchronised. Some writers gets bored half-way through and cannot complete the paper,” added Kanse.
The rules also state that students can opt for only one writer, but finding a dedicated writer for a month is hard and the NAB’s request to allow vision-impaired students to opt for two or more writers for different papers has gone unheeded.
NAB had also suggested that the board should arrange writers for vision-impaired students but the suggestion has not been accepted by the board.
Venkatesh Prabhu, who took the Class 10 board exams two years back, found a writer a month before his exams. “The writer backed out 15 days before the exam, and I had to hunt for another one. All my practice sessions with him were a sheer waste of time,” said the Kandivli resident.