To aid differently abled students who would appear for examinations for Classes 1 to 12, the Maharashtra state school education department is in the process of setting up an online database of writers, as detailed by a resolution issued by the state government on Wednesday.
Putting schools in touch with people who are interested in acting as scribes and writers for disabled students, the online platform will be active from the 16th of January. Each school involved in the programme will provide the details of the scribes who are available to them and this would then be added to the writer pool.
Also, as a part of this programme candidates who may be interested in acting as scribes or helping disabled students can register themselves with the repository as well. The scribes, through the site, can be utilised to aid students anywhere in the state according to the deputy secretary of the department who had put out the government resolution, Suvarna Kharat. She went on to say that the writers’ bank would be a permanent solution for students taking care of the problem of demand and supply in these types of situations.
The power to assign scribes to each student would be with the principals of schools, according to the general resolution, which also laid down the guidelines to be followed through the entire procedure. The students will however, have the right to choose from the available list.
The writers, as per the guidelines, must be one year younger to the students they scribe for but as a last resort adult scribes may be assigned to the students. The scribes cannot be teachers from the same school or any other school, relatives of the student, private tutors or those who teach at coaching classes. However, in rare cases, principals may assign close relatives if the case would require it, this is done at their discretion.
The move was welcomed almost unanimously by experts who said that it would lighten the stress on students and schools to find writers. Harish Shetty, a senior psychiatrist at Dr LH Hiranandani Foundation Hospital, Powai mentioned that the schools usually would have a hard time finding students who were sensitive and would be willing to act as writers for students with special needs.
The basic idea came together when a group of medical practitioners from Mumbai met on the 21st of January, 2016 with education officials and the group agreed to set up writers’ banks in schools across the state. The education department then, on the 11th of January, 2017 issued a general resolution to put down the guidelines on how to construct this repository of writers and readers to aid differently abled students.