Did a school's gaffe prevent this disabled student from appearing for Class X exam?

An 18-year-old mentally challenged student in Odisha was not allowed to bring a scribe to assist with his Class X exam after an alleged mishap in his high school
Pic: Edexlive
Pic: Edexlive

A disabled student in the Kalahandi district of Odisha was deprived of the opportunity to appear for the Class X Board Summative Assessment Exam due to alleged negligence from his high school in filling up the form for his disability certificate. According to a report by The New Indian Express, the student was not allowed to get a scribe to the examination centre due to a mishap by his school in filling out the form for the disability certificate. 

The student, Swadhin Durga, hails from Michagaon village and studies at the Atigaon High School near his village. He is 18 years old. The certificate of personal disability issued to him by the district medical board in the year 2013 reveals that he has 75% 'mental retardation'. This certificate was submitted to his school when he was admitted to Class VI. Swadhin appeared for the Higher Secondary Certificate Class X Summative Assessment 2022-23 under the Board of Secondary Education at Nodal High School Chicheiguda on November 23. However in the admit card issued to him, there was no mention of his physical disability and, therefore, he was not provided with scribe support as it was not mentioned in the form filled up by his school, reported TNIE.  

TNIE reported that Swadhin's parents approached the Headmaster of the school after they received his admit card for the exam and, on October 21, wrote a letter to the examination centre requesting them to allow a scribe for him. However, their plea was rejected on grounds that his disability was not mentioned in the form. The student's father, Sankar Durga, told TNIE that during the admission of his son in Class VI, the disability certificate was submitted but when the school filled up his application form for the exam on September 22, the Headmaster, who was in charge, did not ask him to submit the handicap certificate. "My son was supposed to get a scribe who could have assisted him in his writing. But due to the negligence of the teacher, today he was not allowed to appear for the examination," he alleged.

On the other hand, the Headmaster of Atigaon High School, Mrutunjay Panda, who assumed the post of Headmaster post in the month of October, said that the form was filled up by his predecessor, former Headmaster Tapan Meher. However, after the student got the admit card where the assistance of a scribe was not mentioned, he issued a request letter to the examination centre to allow the student to get the assistance of a scribe. This request letter was also not entertained by the examination centre. 

On query, the then-in-charge Headmaster Tapan Meher explained to TNIE that as the student was earlier independently appearing in-class examinations and as the disability certificate was not submitted during the form fill-up, it was not mentioned in the form. The District Education officer Susant Chopdar told TNIE that an enquiry had been initiated to ascertain the matter.

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