Kerala Minister Allows Visually Impaired Student To Write Board Exams With Computer

The SSLC board theory exams are scheduled to begin on March 10 and a government order is expected to be out before that.

Visually impaired Haroon Kareem TK, a tenth-grade student of Mankada Government Higher Secondary School in Malapuram district is all set to become the first student to take Secondary School Leaving Certificate (SSLC) examination on computers in Kerala.

At first, the education department denied his request to write the exam citing the State Council of Educational Research and Training norms (SCERT), however after the intervention of the state Education Minister C Raveendranath things move away from the conventional methods of using braille or a scribe. Raveendranath intervened in the matter after the boy reached out to him on Facebook and later met him in his office.

"I am using computers to do all my class tasks and term and annual examinations since Class 8. For visually impaired there are technologies available for onscreen reading and using various tools like Imfty editor and Dolphin Easy Reader. I am able to make the best use of the technology," Haroon said while speaking to ANI.

"I met Kerala speaker P Sreeramakrishnan and he facilitated a meeting with Education Minister. The Education Minister has assured me that I will be able to appear for the exam using the medium I am comfortable with, " said Haroon after meeting the minister.

Ram Kamal of Chakshumathi, an NGO that works with print disabled kids in Kerala and works in the direction of promoting assistive technology to overcome their educational challenges was of the view that this decision of education minister will help many other visually impaired students in Kerala.

"The Indian Government and NCERT are well in sync with the latest assistive technologies for the visually impaired and print disabled. They modified their rules in favor of using computers officially since 2013. Karthik Swayne, the first Indian visually impaired student at Stanford University, US was one of the first beneficiaries of the rule in 2012. But in Kerala, the SCERT examination guidelines are outdated, " he said.

The SSLC board theory exams are scheduled to begin on March 10 and a government order is expected to be out before that.


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