Visually impaired students in Pune face difficulty getting writers

Prajakta Joshi
Friday, 6 October 2017

While the school authorities denied commenting on the issue, there is a possibility that they would be postponing the rest of the papers to the week after Diwali vacation so that the other regular students of the school belonging to higher classes could help the visually impaired students.

Pune: For the visually-impaired school children in the city, writing their routine exams has become difficult due to the lack of writers willing to write for them.

At Sant Gadgebaba School in Koregaon Park, around 40 students from Std VIII to X on Thursday faced difficulty in finding writers for their mid-term examination. 

Speaking on the issue, Kiran Tasgaonkar of Netra Group said, “We have encountered such a problem for the first time this year, as these exams have coincided with exams of regular students who double up as writers. Many who usually go as writers through our group couldn't come due to their children's examinations.”

Rescheduling exams
She said that those available tried their best to help these children and some including herself wrote two continuous papers. 

While the school authorities denied commenting on the issue, there is a possibility that they would be postponing the rest of the papers to the week after Diwali vacation so that the other regular students of the school belonging to higher classes could help the visually impaired students.

Meera Badve of Nivant Andha Mukta Vikasalaya stated that there is indeed an issue of shortage of writers for the visually impaired in the city. “I feel that schools that teach such students should also take the responsibility of providing writers to the visually impaired students. They should start some incentive programme like providing certificates to the writers to motivate more people to contribute to the cause,” Badve said.

Efficient writers
She further also pointed out towards the scarcity of efficient writers. She said, “The writer should know about the subject he is assisting the visually impaired student for, as the student cannot explain things like diagrams, equations, etc, to the writer. There are times when the writers leave half way, as they get bored or tired." 

She added that many visually impaired students come from nearby villages to avail these facilities that they don't get there.

Demoralising for students
Badve also added that it's really a demoralising situation for the students if even after all the preparation, he or she cannot find a writer to write the examination.

Shruti Kalantre, an alumnus of Fergusson College, who was part of a group that helps find writers, explained the difficult process.

"It was difficult to find adequate writers according to the stream of the student. For example, art students have long descriptive subjective answers to write, so the writer has to understand the perspective of the student to be able to write exactly what the student thinks. Similarly, for papers like mathematics, chemistry, biology, writers need to have that background in order to understand the concepts clearly. So finding writers has always been difficult at the college level too,” Kalantre added.

In need of help
- While most students were dictating answers to their writers sitting in a single room where they were all cluttered together, there were a few who were just waiting for their writers to come. 
- Some writers left after writing just half of the paper, and students waited for some other writer to get free, and help them finish their paper.
- “These children belong to Marathi medium, and on Thursday, they had Hindi examination. The number of writers willing to write in Marathi or Hindi is much lower than those writing in English,” said Kiran Tasgaonkar of Netra Group.  

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