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Blind student wins fight to take exam

Sunday, 25 October 2009 - 2:34am IST | Place: Mumbai | Agency: dna

Was denied permission to take exams with the help of a screen-reading software for two years; controller of examination finally passed an order in his favour.

A visually-impaired law student has finally won his battle against the Mumbai University after almost two years of perseverance. Amar Jain, a second year law student, refused to use a writer for his exams after a couple of bad experiences in the past. Well-versed in computers, Jain insisted on attempting his papers online in stead. However, the University rulebook did not permit any such liberty for a handicap student. After pursuing for almost two years, the controller of examination finally granted him the permission on Friday.

Jain, a student of the Government Law College, Churchgate, got a writer from a Hindi medium school to write his English paper in his class XII exams. He was disappointed to get only 55 marks because Jain had been a distinction student all his life. He decided to learn computers and was happy that he could attempt his own exams with the help of a screen-reading software. However, the University had not adopted the University Grants Commission (UGC)’s circular allowing blind students to use computers, which was passed in 2006.

With a little help from his principal, Parimala Rao, Jain approached the university. His application was forwarded to the Dean of Law, Mumbai University, which was then handed over to the controller of examination. However, nothing happened after that and repeated inquiries with the additional registrar’s office at the examination house in Kalina were futile.

This year, Jain directly wrote to the vice-chancellor’s office, on his new principal’s suggestion. He approached the VC’s office, early this month, and was pleasantly surprised by their quick response. “My letter was forwarded to the controller of examination this month. And they have finally granted me permission to write the exams using the screen-reader software this Friday. I am thankful to the controller of examination and the VC for finally making this provision available to me,” said Jain.

The controller of examination, Vilas Shinde, however, said, “The letter came to me and within three days I passed the order. The state government had already issued a circular in the past allowing blind students to use computers or typewriters, but the university needs to release its own circular on the same. So the permission was not granted. The student should have directly approached higher authorities earlier.”

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