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Government institute bars visually-impaired programmer from giving exam

Fri, 08/11/2017 - 10:37 -- geeta.nair

New Delhi, Aug 11 (IANS) A visually-impaired computer programmer was barred from giving a test for a government-certified programmer when the state-run institute that was conducting it sent him back for not bringing a writer with him.

Originally from West Bengal, the 26-year-old Varun Mehato had gone to give his CCC exam conducted by National Institute of Electronics and Information Technology (NIELIT), an entity under Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology.

Talking to IANS, Mehato said that he was wronged by the institute since, going by the experience of his friend, he was not supposed to take any writer along with him.

"A friend of mine named Sikandar was told that he cannot use the writer he had taken along with him on August 5, just three days before I was due to give my exam. He was provided a writer from the institute," Mehato said.

When IANS contacted the NIELIT, an official categorically said it does not provide writers and there must be confusion in Mehato's case.

"This is the Standard Operating Procedure. We do not give any writer to write the paper for the visually impaired. The writers have to be arranged by the candidates themslves," NIELIT Controller of Examinations Anurag Shah told IANS.

When told about what had happened on August 5, Shah cited a rule which prohibits the use of a "computer-literate" writer.

Mehato, who will now have to wait for a few months before he can reappear for the exam, said that the rule is ambiguous and difficult for visually challenged people like him to deal with.

"Who will decide whether a writer is computer literate? The NIELIT has to attest him or her as 'non-computer-literate'. But who will bear the expenses? The writer charges (the blind person) on a day basis. He cannot be made to go twice one for his attestation and then for writing the test," said the visibly annoyed Noida resident who had to reach the exam centre in west Delhi with great difficulty only to find he will not be allowed to appear.

The attestation has to be done weeks before the test, and the same writer may or may not be available on the day of the test, he said.

Mehato is a C# (C-sharp) certified computer programmer from NIIT. He was due to appear for his CCC exam. If he passed, he would be declared a government-certified programmer.


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