THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Students with visual impairment in the state will be given admission to science stream in Higher Secondary classes, from this year onwards.
The cause of this epoch-making decision, Jomol K, who will also be one of the first to benefit from the decision, met KPCC president V M Sudheeran at KPCC office, Vellayambalam, on Saturday. Accompanying her were Aswathy V K and Adila Farzan, who are also people with visual impairment ready explore the science stream.
Jomol had submitted a letter to Jawahar Balajanavedi chairman G V Hari, about how students with visual impairment were denied admissions to science stream. The letter was brought to the notice of Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and KPCC president V M Sudheeran, and the government has decided to admit all meritorious students with visual impairment to science batches.
However, there is room for more change. Mani K P, a student with visual impairment who studies at IIT Madras, pointed out that they often get students of Class IX as scribes. This is a big disadvantage, since these students do not know advanced concepts taught in Plus-Two, he said. He added that SCERT Braille textbooks and audio books do not reach the blind students in time. Sudheeran has asked him to prepare a representation in this regard.
Earlier, admission used to be denied to such students, as the State Education Department officials reasoned that it could not handle practical exams. The decision was challenged in the High Court by Reshma Dileep, a student with visual impairment who had scored A+ in all subjects except one. (She had earned A for that subject.)
The decision did come in her favour, but after one-and-a-half years. Meanwhile, she was forced to take humanities stream and has now scored A+ in five subjects. Reshma says, “I am extremely happy that students with visual impairment will get a chance to study science subjects, because of the case I filed. However, I lost the opportunity to pursue it.”
The NGO which supported her fight, Chakshumathi, has been holding science camps for children with visual impairment to help develop a scientific temper. “If most career opportunities are in science subjects, why should they be forced to take non-science subjects?” asks its founder Ram Kamal.
This year, Chakshumathi had identified six students who had scored highly in all subjects. Only Jomol, Aswathy and Adila, among them, were interested in science.