Wednesday, 25 December 2013

Indian University Grants Commission Rejects Plea for Braille Question Paper

UGC Rejects Plea for Braille Question Paper

The UGC hasn’t accepted the request of a person with multiple disabilities seeking Braille question paper to take the UGC National Educational Testing (NET) exams for the last 2 years.

Despite a revised guideline under the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, Department of Disability Affairs, which states that persons with disabilities can choose their own mode to write exams, the UGC denied Miranda Tomkinson a Braille question paper, which he sought twice.

Addressing a presspersons here on Monday, Miranda along with the Disability Legislation Unit (DLU), South, Vidya Sagar office-bearers S S Smitha and Rajiv Ranjan said he feels helpless as his Masters in Sociology could not earn him a job and has to still depend on his kin for financial aid.

Smitha said Miranda has applied for the exams for the third time and approached DLU for help. “We wrote to UGC chairman on October 9, 2013 requesting Braille question paper along with the revised norms of the Ministry of Social Justice for conducting written exams with persons with disabilities issued on Feb 26, 2013.

“As the Disability Legislation Unit (DLU) did not get a reply from UGC, we approached the State commissioner for persons with disabilities and Chief Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities, Government of India,” Smitha said.

Following this, the office of the State commissioner for person with disabilities, Tamil Nadu issued a notification on October 25 directing UGC to provide the Braille question paper to Tomkinson. The office of the Chief Commissioner of Disabilities too issued a similar direction. But UGC never responded and then DLU met the registrar of Madras University to intervene in the matter. The registrar promised to take up the issue with higher authorities at UGC.

The Madras University refused to share the correspondence with UGC and later informed orally that UGC could not provide Braille question paper in NET 2013 exam as it is a policy decision and the request could be considered for the next examination.

Curiously, Tomkinson got similar explanations from the UGC on both the earlier occasions after he filed RTI applications, says Smitha.

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