TN has yet to implement the use of assistive devices for disabled students

CHENNAI: Although the Directorate for State Examinations (DGE) allows disabled students in grades 10-12 to write exams with the help of aids, teachers working in special schools claim that no accommodations were made during the exam. They also have not received any information about the initiative taken in this regard.

The DGE released a GO in April that allows students with disabilities to take board exams with aids such as a talking calculator, tailor’s frame, braille slate, abacus, geometry kit, braille tape measure, communication chart, and electronic devices for Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC ) to write.

Since they had enlisted the help of scribes to write exams, the management had decided to allow aids for this year’s professional exam.

However, a teacher who works at a special government school said: “From our school, 35 students wrote the final exam with scribes. During the exams or after, we were not informed that they are allowed to use aids. Our students have only ever used an Angle Pro app to record lessons.”

Noting the need to introduce assistive devices as early as possible, the teacher added: “Disabled students are used to having scribes write exams for them. Therefore, it may take some time for them to get used to devices and write exams on their own. Therefore, the DGE and the Disabled Welfare Department should take action at an early stage.”

Interestingly, the teacher also pointed out the need for government laptops so students can be educated.

Another teacher at a government-sponsored special education school also said that none of her hearing-impaired students used any type of test-writing device this year.

“Different conditions require different tools. More importantly, children need to be trained well in advance to use them efficiently in board exams,” she stressed.

An official from the Disability Department said: “We will soon be taking steps to raise awareness of assistive devices among students. However, we also ask the respective teachers of the special schools to give us important suggestions.”

The official added that students with visual, hearing and speech impairments along with cerebral palsy (congenital disorder of movement, muscle tone or posture) and movement disability often appear for the board exams in the schools in Tamil Nadu.

“The need for aids will vary based on their conditions, so we’ll be looking at special education teachers soon,” the official added.

Despite repeated attempts, the DGE did not respond.

Guidelines issued by the Office for the welfare of people with disabilities

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