by Elton Gomes
The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) is planning to introduce braille and sign language as a subject to help children with special needs in schools. Additionally, the board is also planning to introduce computer-based tests, attendance waivers, and flexible subject selection options for students with special needs.
“It has been proposed that Indian sign language or braille should be treated as a language to satisfy the formula prescribed by the board,” a senior official from the CBSE said. The official said further, “For students with mobility issues, the CBSE has recommended the creation of online class content for children. Attendance requirements in cases of children with severe disabilities can be waived,” the Indian Express reported.
Students with special needs to be exempt from compulsory languages
CBSE has also proposed that children with special needs might be given an exemption from the already existing criteria of two or one compulsory languages in board examinations.
CBSE preparing report to relax norms for differently-abled students
Media reports mentioned that the board is preparing a draft report with recommendations over relaxations and exemptions for children with special needs.
The passing mark criteria has been kept at 33 percent this year. This means that students will not be required to secure 33 percent separately in board exams and internal assessments.
“The examination committee of the board in its meeting held on February 16 after considering the circumstances and the facts that the current batch of class 10 (2018) is coming from a different assessment background while they were in class 9 (in 2017) resolved to approve the following for this batch as a one-time measure,” an official notification said, Financial Express reported.
“We are working on the draft report. Meanwhile, we have already implemented many relaxations for the ‘Children With Special Needs’ (CWSN) in board exams in 2018. We have discussed our viewpoint with many state boards in the national workshops,” the senior official from the CBSE told news agency IANS.
It is not yet official as to when the report will be released. It is likely to be tabled before the curriculum committee by the end of September.
Inclusion of differently-abled students in India’s schools is important
Children with special needs might sometimes find it hard to cope with the curriculum in mainstream schools. Moreover, mainstream schools are often not equipped to provide adequate teaching to children with disabilities, even if they do get admitted.
The News Minute reported a case wherein schools might not be prepared for exemption of students with special needs. According to the News Minute, Revathi’s (name changed) daughter used to attend an international school in Karnataka. Revathi said, “All subjects were difficult for her to understand; she could write only half the answers. But her teacher did not say anything. When I requested some exemption for her, they didn’t agree either.”
This sheds light on the rigidity among schools and some teachers in the way differently-abled students are treated. With its emphasis on imparting holistic education, the CBSE’s potential step to provide exemption to students with special needs is certainly a step in the right direction, and schools and teachers should be more sensitive towards children with special needs.
Elton Gomes is a staff writer at Qrius
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