Student with learning disability to write Mumbai University exam on computer
Kshitij Raimane, a second-year Master of Computer Application (MCA) student at Navinchandra Mehta Institute of Technology and Development (NIMTD), Dadar, has dysgraphia, which makes it difficult for him to write coherently.Updated: May 20, 2019, 08:33 IST
In a first, the University of Mumbai (MU) has allowed a student with a form of learning disability (LD) to take his semester examination on a computer, instead of using pen-and-paper.
Kshitij Raimane, a second-year Master of Computer Application (MCA) student at Navinchandra Mehta Institute of Technology and Development (NIMTD), Dadar, has dysgraphia, which makes it difficult for him to write coherently. He will now write six papers of the fourth semester examination as well as six repeat papers of previous semesters on a computer in his college.
According to the university, this is the first time such a facility is being extended for an examination conducted by the university, although the university had permitted Kirti College in Dadar to provide a computer to an LD student for an examination conducted by the college. “The university decided to provide the facility, after a request from the student’s mother,” said Vinod Malale, deputy registrar (public relations).
Dr Madhuri, Kshitij’s mother, said she approached the university and college officials, as her son was lagging behind due to his poor writing skills. “His writing is not very legible. He can’t write long sentences. With each passing class, it became increasingly difficult for him to perform in the examination. Being a postgraduation course, MCA has a vast syllabus and the question paper contains a large number of questions requiring detailed answers,” she said.
While the state education board and Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) have been providing various facilities to differently-abled students during their examinations for the past many years, the state, in May 2017, issued a government resolution (GR) providing detailed guidelines for college and university exams. The GR, which had listed 21 different types of disabilities, directed higher education institutes to allow LD students to take the examination on a computer or seek help of a writer. The students can also attempt the examination using audio-video recorders.
The 23-year-old has so far sought help of a writer only once – during his Class 10 examination. “The rules require a writer from a lower class and a different stream of education. It’s very difficult to convince someone to be a writer. We opted for computer as Kshitij’s typing skills are better than his writing skills,” said the mother.
Kshitij is glad that he will now be able to write detailed answers. “Earlier, I would write my answers in short and the points were not relevant to the questions. As a result, I wouldn’t get the desired score. Now, I can write as much as I want in the answer paper. I will also make sure that I attempt all questions,” he said.
Kshitij and his mother said the university also needs to make teachers aware of the guidelines for assessing papers of students with special needs. “While the government has issued guidelines for assessment, not all teachers are aware of them,” said the mother.
Last year, the MU began stamping papers of students with special needs with the alphabets P-W-D, acronym for ‘person with disability’, so that they are identified by the examiners.