Disability rights activists have welcomed the move; candidates who still want to take up the exams can do so
The Tamil Nadu government has exempted private candidates with disabilities from taking up the supplementary class 12 exams, and has declared them ‘all pass.’
A government order passed to this effect said that the Disability Welfare Commissioner in a letter, had said that all school students including those in special schools across the State had been declared as having cleared class 12 following the cancellation of the board exams owing to COVID-19.
The Commissioner, Johny Tom Varghese had said that persons with disabilities who were to take up the supplementary exams as private candidates too, should be exempted given the COVID-19 situation and had asked the government to consider an exemption for them as well.
Following a decision taken by the Chief Minister, the Disability Welfare Department said in the G.O. that all candidates with disabilities would be exempted from taking up the supplementary class 12 exams which are to begin from August 6. The order has referenced section 17(i) of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act 2016 which states that suitable modifications can be made in the curriculum and examination system to meet the needs of students with disabilities.
For these candidates, the government order has also said that the School Education Department will decide on how marks can be awarded. The government, however, has also said that candidates with disabilities who wish to go ahead and take up the exams can do so, but that the marks scored in the exams will be treated as final.
Following the cancellation of board exams owing to COVID-19, the TN government earlier this year had said that supplementary exams would be conducted for around 39,000 private candidates since school students were awarded marks on the basis of their class 10, 11, and 12 performance in public exams and internal assessments. This included persons with disabilities who had registered to take up the exams as well.
Disability rights activists have welcomed the move by the government to exempt candidates with disabilities from the supplementary exams this year.
R. Sathish Kumar, a member of the Disability Rights Alliance said that candidates with disabilities would have had to face several difficulties if they had to take up the exam. “Wearing a mask would have been hard for persons with Cerebral Palsy and other issues where they keep salivating frequently as well as causing breathing issues. Sitting in close proximity to scribes as well as using public transport to get to exam centres were major points of concern,” he said.
Mr. Sathish further explained that for candidates with autism and other related issues, preparing for these exams too have been hard since the pandemic has caused a major disruption to their routines which has made it challenging to ensure consistent preparation. “Last year, when the exams took place, we noticed issues that private candidates with disabilities faced and we are thankful to the government for exempting them this year,” he added.
T.M.N. Deepak, a disability rights activist and founder of December 3 movement, said that apart from the risk that these candidates run in coming to the exam halls, the stress and burden of preparing for the exams during the pandemic on both them and their parents was immense.
“When we talk about school students being unable to revise and keep consistently preparing through these uncertain times, it is doubly hard for candidates with disabilities. Parents especially, have been extremely worried over the last few months as to how their children would manage taking up the exam,” he said. In June, Mr Deepak had submitted a representation to the government, asking for disabled candidates to be exempted from taking up the exams.
Source: Read Full Article