The recently released circulars by NTA (national testing agency) and other institutions to conduct the entrance examinations is highly exclusionary in general and for the students with disabilities  in particular. As we are aware that in the current crisis of the Covid-19 pandemic, the students with disabilities  have been particularly neglected by most of the universities as well as other authorities . This particularly  vulnerable section of the society during this pandemic is also confronting various difficulties in performing their day-today life activities. It is also need to be noticed that there are no guidelines which has been released, keeping in mind the different challenges faced by the persons with disabilities by the National Testing agency, universities, and centres Which clearly shows that the students’ with disabilities  are being highly marginalised and neglected in this ongoing crisis.

  1. In this present crisis of the Covid19 pandemic, where there is always a risk of getting infected by the virus, persons with disabilities are at greater risks as most of the times while travelling long distances assistance is always required which cannot be possible without coming into physical contact. Where everyone is advised to perform social distancing persons with disabilities  are at higher risk of being getting infected  by the Covid-19.
  2. In the country like India where the nearest examination centres are hundreds of kilometres away from the place of residence for most of the students. Changing the centre does not looks a feasible option for the students as whether the distance is 1500 kilometres or 500 kilometre’s for most of the students the risk does not lessens. These facts are of great concern for any disabled student as most students with disabilities are relied on their parents for travelling long distances and in this environment of suspicion there is no other way. most of the parents are old and are more prone to be infected by the virus  and who wants to risk the lives of their loved once.
  3. Majority of the PWD students used to choose their centre preferences while taking care of all their desired comfortabilities. There is always an issue of finding a scribe for persons with blindness and suitable assistance for other disabilities. As this pandemic has created a suspicious environment where people avoid to come in contact with others in order to safe themselves from being infected, the aspirant appearing for an exam might put his/her life on stake but why should a  unknown scribe will put his life on risk for others exam?
  4. Linguistic barriers are always unavoidable, where the students are appearing for exams which are not in English or Hindi language for example Sanskrit, Urdu Persian etc. getting or arranging scribes in an unknown centre [if changed]makes it, very difficult and discriminatory.
  5. In the absence of any appropriate provisions and required guidelines, In the case where even NTA provides scribes for the exams there is always a risk of getting infected by unknown individuals.
  6. As the pandemic continues, the economic setback for all need to be recognised. As we all are not getting any financial assistance to be a part of these entrances from anywhere, and the public transports are at halt . it becomes an unachievable task where our careers are at a higher risks to appear for the entrances .,
  7. when most of the country is under lockdown And, cyber areas are not allowed to be opened with most of the sites being inaccessible with the screan readers, technical aids and assistance are being totally denied to all such students. The students residing in the areas from where proper internet cannot be accessed due to various issues have to face greater problems.
  8. lack of proper academic environment for the persons with disabilities particularly coming from the economically and socially marginalised sections is of great concern as the persons with visual impairment need other assistive screen reading software such as jaws and are totally dependent on their listening capabilities, preparing for the exams in a clumsy environment without libraries seems to be a huge obstacle to appear for the examinations.
  9. The other factors such as accommodation, assistance, travelling, financial support and lack of proper care and academic environment makes it even more difficult to appear for the exams for most of the students with disabilities.

Shivam Shrivastava is pursuing Masters in Modern History from JNU




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