Relaxations introduced for special children

MARGAO: Concessions for special children, who experience a writing disability, have been introduced and many schools in the state have identified such students, who could take benefit of these relaxations.

The Goa Board of Secondary and Higher Secondary Education (GBSHSE) has revised the concessions extended to these students with learning disabilities, and introduced additional concessions, in the choice of subjects, which will come into force from the SSC and HSSC examination of March/April 2011.
According to the circular issued by the Board, it has syllabi for 9 subjects, that is, the electrical group has domestic wiring, maintenance and repair of domestic electrical appliances and electronics; home science group has cookery, garment cutting and sewing and the agriculture group has horticulture, floriculture, mushroom cultivation and vegetable cultivation.
The circular says that schools having disabled students can opt from these subjects, however, only the students of Std IX are eligible in this current academic year 2010-11.
Mr Merwyn Desouza, the chairman of the GBSHSE, when contacted, said that the government of India has passed legislations related to disability, and the provisions of these legislations have been implemented.
He pointed that the GBSHSE and the Department of Education were extending a number of facilities and concessions to students with various disabilities.
As per the circular issued, the list of disabilities include autism, blindness or visual impairment and low vision, hearing impairment, learning disability, loco motor disability, including cerebral palsy, mental illness, mental retardation, mentally challenged, multiple disability, and slow learners.
The students who wish to avail of these concessions will have to get approval of the Board, six months in advance of the public examination, and will have to submit a certificate of disability, from the Goa Medical College and the recommendation of the institution.
Children with disabilities of bona fide foreign nationals residing in India, or non resident Indians, who seek admission to IX, X, XI and XII, shall be allowed to offer French or  Portuguese or other languages, under private study as first, second or third language with prior approval of the Board.
It is imperative that the child who seeks admission with concessions in classes IX, X, XI and XII, should be assessed in the school by a team consisting of a clinical psychologist and special educator, supported by medical documents. The candidate shall produce a letter of approval by the Board, for availing such facilities, during conduct of examination, as and when required by competent authorities.
Ms Farrel Furtado e Gracias, the vice chairperson of the GBSHSE, said that assessing students with learning disabilities can be a challenging prospect; however, assessment provides the child with an opportunity to demonstrate knowledge, skill and understanding. All the schools that do not offer the special educational programmes or facilities that may be required by a disabled student, may refer that student to another school or educational institution.
She disclosed that education department has identified such schools. She further said that the heads of the schools should instruct the parents in the parents teachers association meeting of the above schemes, which can be availed by the disabled students.