#Mumbai- Shot in the arm for autistic pupils #goodnews #disability


Shreya Bhandari, TNN

Mumbai: Two years ago, the state board allowed autistic students to appear for Class X and XII board exams.
After granting various concessions to students with learning disabilities (LD), the state board has decided to permit students to opt for an exam centre closer to their residence. “Our aim has always been to ensure that students’ stress is reduced. We started this option last year where students with autism or learning disabilities could apply to us and ask for an exam centre close to their homes,” said Krishnarao Patil, state board secretary.
“Last year, few parents knew about this measure, but now more students have approached the state board,” he said. He also added that the state board has recently released a circular making it clear that students with autism and LD will be allowed to use calculators in their maths and science board papers (Class X and XII).
The option of changing centres has come in handy for students who need a writer for their exams. “There was some confusion if all students had to take this option but the board has made it clear that only those students who are interested can apply to the board and avail of the facility,” said Fr Francis Swamy, principal of Holy Family High School.
Students appear for SSC English paper
Mumbai:Nearly 3.82 lakh SSC students in Mumbai division appeared for their English paper on Thursday. “Students are slowly settling down well so the number of calls to the helpline has reduced. Very few students call with queries these days,” said Balasaheb Hyalij, a state board helpline counsellor. TNN

 

#India- Pre-exam helpline for students-011-65978181.


STAFF REPORTER, The Hindu, Feb 15, 2013

The Board exams come around every year and so do a host of issues like lack of concentration, loss of appetite, permanent headache, restlessness, lack of confidence and, in many cases, extreme depression.

A pre-exam helpline to help students deal with all these exam-related issues, “Disha”, operated by trained counsellors and mental health professionals, opened earlier this month. It is accessible to students daily from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. up to March 2 on 011-65978181. Students in distress will be helped through telephonic and face-to-face counselling.

The helpline has been reaching out to students in times of distress since 1999.

The organisation receives distress calls from Delhi, the National Capital Region and many other parts of the country from students of Class X, XI and XII — and sometimes even Class IV students and scholars preparing for competitive exams.

While many of the calls from students, parents and teachers relate to mental imbalances, many calls are also from students who want specific information about the exams.

Disha also says that the stress from the Board exams is mostly because it is so important for the academic future of every child.

Moreover, the system hardly provides any leverage to the student for exploring his likes or dislikes which only increases stress levels . Parents and teachers are also affected. Many students find pre-exam holidays more stressful since the pressure starts to build during this time.

Disha is an effort by Snehi, a non-government organisation, which works for the mental health needs of the community. It has been helping people in mental distress through counselling and other specific programmes for prevention of mental illness, with focus on children and young people. Disha’s counselling services are confidential and free of cost.

 

 

CBSE tweaks ‘Open Book’ concept, comes up with PAT


, TNN | Aug 1, 2012,

NAGPUR: In what could be the biggest change made to the country’s education system, CBSE has decided to introduce the ‘open book exam’ concept for its board exams (Std X, XII) from the 2013-14 academic session. The central board’s chairman Vineet Joshi informed TOI that the new system will test “higher order thinking skills of students rather than their current reliance on a rote-based methodology”.

“But it won’t literally be an open book exam. It will be called the ‘Pre-Announced Test’ (PAT) and will be applicable for all Std X subjects and some major ones of Std XII,” he said.

Explaining the features of PAT, Joshi said, “Four months before the exam, students will be made aware of the test they are going to appear for. But the questions will not be simple and straightforward, they will test the students’ analytical power.”

A formal announcement with complete details regarding the new system is expected to be made in December this year. The HRD ministry had initiated the process and a reforms committee had been constituted to look into the concept. Sources in the board said that Joshi was heading the committee and its brief was to improve the education system to make it more ‘student-friendly’.

The committee tweaked the open book concept, followed in some western countries, to make it more relevant and acceptable here. “We were apprehensive about the reaction from other state boards if books are allowed inside exam halls,” said a highly placed source in the CBSE board. He was referring particularly to Maharashtra which had created a fuss over CBSE’s school-evaluated board exam for Std X students and refused them admission in state colleges.

PAT functions like the Higher Order Thinking Skills (HOTS) system that some education boards, including Maharashtra, are implementing. In the SSC exam, an out-of-syllabus passage is given to students and they are asked questions that cannot be answered word-for-word just by looking at the matter. For example, if the passage has a line saying, ‘Rajesh goes to school everyday and learns about animals, new countries and math formulae’, the question would be ‘Why does Rajesh go to school?’ The expected answer would be he goes to school to increase his knowledge about the world around him.

Under PAT, the same passage would be taught to students four months before the exam. S/he is expected to analyse various relevant questions that could be asked. On the day of the CBSE exam, PAT will not produce the passage but there will be questions based on it.

It is still not clear yet how the board will implement PAT for Mathematics where formulae and values are part of almost every topic. By the time a formal announcement is made in December, the CBSE Board expects to iron out all issues.

Local schools in the city were unaware of board’s plan but say it does seem to be a step in the right direction. A school principal, who did not wish to be named, said, “Today, what matters on exam day is how well a student is able to recall what he has learnt. PAT will force a change of approach. Students will not be able to depend on guides.”

Another teacher said that teachers will now face a “new challenge”. “Having the test available in advance will certainly help and the focus will be on how well the student can comprehend the lesson,” she said. Those who set the question paper also face a challenge, according to this teacher. “No question will be repeated in successive exams and that requires a lot of innovative thinking,” she added.

In 2008, the Gujarat government had decided to implement the open book exam concept for its board exams but has not done yet. Also, some schools in Gujarat had experimented with the concept but it proved to be very tough and few students passed.

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