One should realize that by providing the differently-abled with extra time for exams is not doing them a favour, but it is their right
The School Leaving Examination (SLC) kicked off today with 615,533 examinees taking the test this year. Of them, many differently-abled examinees have submitted their applications. However, the actual number of the differently-abled examinees is not known. It is feared that the updated Superintendents’ Directives Manual of the Controller of Examinations could deprived such students of an extra hour in order to complete the exams this year. As per the rule the differently-abled SLC examinee can seek the help of a Grade IX student to attempt the tests within three hours if they are completely blind or their hands do not work due to some form of deformity. The rule also mentions that the examinees who are partially blind, hearing impaired, deaf, mentally retarded, among others, will be given an extra one and a half hours in order to complete the tests. There is now confusion as to whether the physically and mentally challenged examinees should be given the extra time for the examinations.
One should realize that by providing the differently-abled with extra time for the examinations is not doing them a favour, but it is their right. Perhaps a different evaluation system should be in place for these examinees. Furthermore, the superintendents of the exam centers must be provided information if the examinees have any disabilities and they should exercise their discretion as to whether the examinees are disabled or not. Medical records should show the disability and the health service personnel ought to certify that they are suffering from the debiliting physical and mental disabilities. It is also necessary to know the number of the handicapped children who are giving the exams in order to assist such students while giving the SLC examinations. This would immensely help the OCE to provide special rooms and accessories for these students. So far, no official records have been kept of the handicapped children giving the examinations. If their number were available it would assist the authorities to provide special privileges to the physically and mentally challenged students, and this should be not be regarded as giving them a favour.
Most of the disabled examinees have the potential to pursue further studies and by denying them the right to have more time to complete their examinations we would be doing them great injustice. They are also often capable to earn for their living and also making valuable contribution to society provided they are given the opportunity. The society, under no circumstances, should consider them as a burden. These students should be taken up as individual cases with their specific needs. So everything possible must be done to meet their requirements. By permitting them with sufficient time to complete the exams would be the least that we could do for them. As of now, we are doing too little too late at this hour when the exams are already being conducted. This is indeed a matter of dismay and needs to be addressed without delay. Many disabled students too are able to give the exams as they have been studying and preparing hard despite being differently challenged.
Walk extra miles
It has been almost one year since the devastating April 25 earthquake shook the country. But the reconstruction and rehabilitation works have not kick-started despite the fact that the government formed the National Reconstruction Authority (NRA) three months ago. The quake victims, mostly in 14 severely hit hard districts, have already spent the last monsoon and this year’s chilling winter under the tattered tents that were blown away by gusty winds. Basic supplies have also not reached the victims and the government has drawn flak from all walks of life for not making any tangible progress.
Prime Minister KP Oli, who himself chairs the NRA, lashed out at the officials for not walking extra miles for reconstruction of the damaged infrastructure and rehabilitation of the quake victims. Instead of expediting the service to the people the VDC secretaries and NRA officials have halted the works demanding extra perks for the regular works they are supposed to do. Such demands are unacceptable. The government should take action against such people for their non-cooperation. The most frustrating part is that the NRA has not been able to develop a comprehensive database based on which quake victims get assistance from the state supported by the international community.
A version of this article appears in print on March 31, 2016 of The Himalayan Times.