PUNE: While a circular by the Maharashtra State Board regarding the changed SSC syllabus and evaluation stated that the students with disability can opt for a skill development subject for the board examination replacing any one of the subjects, it has received a mixed response from those working with the disabled students. While some feel that replacing a subject may affect the process of bringing the students into the mainstream, a few feel that pacing up the process of mainstreaming the children like this will help them in the future.
The circular states that out of nine skill development subjects recognised by the board, the students can opt for one, as a replacement to any other mainstream subject. The rule will not be applicable to regular students.
“The board needs to be very careful of what skill development subjects they are choosing to offer the students. Sometimes, in a bid to pass the SSC examination, the students may end up replacing an important subject for a skill development subject which is not going to help them in the future,” said Meera Badve of city-based Niwant Andha Mukta Vikasalay.
She further added that there is a possibility that the parents, as well as schools, may use this rule as a way to just get challenged students to pass SSC examination.
“Already, many blind schools teach the students of Std VIII, IX and X lower level mathematics than regular students. This hampers their higher education prospects as there is no such educational concession to them at higher secondary or college level. Thus, even those who have potential, lag behind because of uninformed and wrong choices and needs to bring these children into the mainstream, we need to apply the rules of the mainstream to them,” Badve said.
Contradicting these views, however, Kishori Pathak of Ab-Normal Home - Development Center of Special Children, said that sometimes, it is necessary to give concessions to make special children self-dependent.
Pathak said, “Many times, we encounter students with learning disabilities who are also dyslexic. These students already struggle with language. While they can reply well orally, learning the rules of grammar and language becomes difficult for them. If they are able to replace a language with a skill subject, it will certainly be a boon for them. Also, many students opt for lower level of the subjects instead of what the normal students learn.”
Badve also pointed out that it’s a common belief that challenged students are only fit for vocational courses. However, there are job opportunities available for them as well. “For the implementation of such a rule, the students and the parents need to be provided with counselling so that they make an informed and appropriate choice. That way, they will be able to determine the subject that they can truly drop and instead opt for the one that will actually help them in the future,” she asserted.