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Dearth of scribes: Visually impaired students of TN face difficulties in writing exams

- June 30, 2022

Chennai, June 30 (BPNS)

The visually impaired students in many parts of Tamil Nadu are facing difficulties in writing the examination as there is a huge shortage of scribes who write the exams on behalf of the visually challenged people.

A college in Chennai city had recently called for scribes to help the blind students of the college from writing exams. The college has in a social media post informed that there are 94 blind students who require assistance. The blind students are in the undergraduate programme of the college.

An associate professor of an undergraduate college in  Chennai while speaking to BPNS said, “ There were no exams for the past two years and we used to get research scholars to assist the students in writing the exams, and mostly MPhil students used to support. However, with the MPhil course now withdrawn, that resource is also not there.”

The visually impaired students are in the departments of English, Tamil, Political Science, and History. The college has a student with cerebral palsy disorders and another student with orthopedic issues who require the assistance of a scribe.

Another issue that is confronting the students is that except for 15- 20 visually impaired students, who are writing the exam in English the rest needs Tamil scribes which is difficult. Most of the scribes are comfortable writing in English.

Interestingly school education department pays an amount of Rs 300 for a scribe to write an exam on behalf of a visually challenged student, but a scribe who is writing on behalf of a blind college student is paid only Rs 100.

The teachers also suggested that a database of scribes need to be uploaded to a portal which is created by the department of Differently abled. The teachers also said that the remuneration for the scribes must be borne by the department of Differently abled and this would mean better perks for the scribes.

St. Johns College, Tirunelveli has currently 17 blind students for undergraduate courses who require scribes to write the examination. A senior professor of the college said that even though only 17 blind students are in the college, it is difficult to get volunteers to write the exam for the blind students as scribes. The college authorities said that with the students not being able to bring in their own scribes and the availability of scribes much less, a data of the scribes is required and that they are paid in a decent manner.

Presidency College, Queen Mary’s College, and Nandanam Arts College have blind students, and the teachers in unison said that the issue has to be settled as early as possible.