Being on wheelchair, a bar to dream?
Raihana Sayeeda Kamal
Few days back, I received a phone call from a boy named Joy Sureka. At first, I was bit annoyed as he was calling me repetitively. Later on, after hearing his whole tale, I got teary-eyed! Joy Sureka is not like other boys of his age. He is special. He is an embodiment of strength and motivation for all of us. As in spite of being born as a physically challenged, he didn't give up. He went to school, continued study with the rolling stones of obstacles in every step, and passed SSC this year with struggles.
Joy Sureka was good in study since his childhood. He used to go to Perfect English Version Secondary School and passed SSC with a GPA of 4.27 from that school under Jessore Board. The result, however, didn't satisfy Joy as he expected better outcome.
In his words, "I could've done better, if I would write on my own. God gave me everything but not the ability to use my own hands and feet (A deep sigh!). I never faced discrimination at my school. My teachers always supported me. I studied at the same pace along with my acquaintances, who are completely normal unlike me! But I couldn't manage to obtain a good result in my examination as I was not allowed to take oral examination unlike my school days."
Usually the Board provides the handicapped examinees with some facilities. For disabled SSC examinees, the Board provides them with a scribe of grade 8 or 9. According to the clause-83 of the conduct of examinations by Intermediate and Secondary Education Boards, Bangladesh, Ministry of Education, "A scribe to a disabled candidate may be allowed for the examination of the Education Board provided that the Chairman is fully satisfied that the candidate is unable to write answers to the questions on the following conditions. The candidate will appear at the Dhaka centre, the scribe who shall be a student of not above class IX shall be appointed by the Board, the candidate shall deposit the remuneration for the scribe to the Board at such rate as will be fixed by the Board sufficiently earlier than the date of commencement of the examination, permission for scribe shall be given in rare and exceptional circumstances."
Here lies the difficulty! How can you expect a student of grade 8 or 9 to follow an SSC examinee on the whole examination, when he, himself is unaware of the spelling, ideas and meaning? Because, other than having a helping hand, handicapped examinees do not get other facility like extra minutes, even if, it is not more than just fifteen to twenty minutes!
"In clause -83 of the conduct of the examinations, there is no direction regarding the background of the scribe. The policy is erroneous in this regard too. I would urge the government to revise the policy and reform it. Joy is not alone! There are many Joys, whose dreams are being shattered due to their unwanted
shortcomings and the Board's such policies."
Joy Sureka, in this regards, expresses his predicament, "The writer or scribe I was provided with was very ignorant. I had to tell him everything from the ideas to spelling to where to put a period or a comma. I had only three hours fifteen minutes. It requires a lot more multi-tasking for a disabled during the exam than the other normal students. I got A(s) and A (minuses) mostly in my major science subjects, while I could've done far better, if I were able to answer myself."
Joy's this circumstance hurls many questions to the Board's such policy. How do you consider a student of grade 8 or 9 qualified enough to appear in the technical examinations like Mathematics without having the basic knowledge? Mathematics requires knowledge regarding the techniques, formulas to solve problems within a set time-frame. It is natural that a student of grade 8 or 9, without having the basic knowledge of Mathematics rules of that particular grade, cannot follow the examinee's aural directions thoroughly in the exam hall.
Joy's remarks about his nerve-racking situation will clarify more, "The scribe couldn't answer Mathematics properly. He was a student of a rural school. He had least ideas about technical subjects. I doubt if he was from Science background or not. I could direct him orally but for Mathematics, only oral direction does not come in handy much. It requires pointed direction."
In clause -83 of the conduct of the examinations, there is no direction regarding the background of the scribe. The policy is erroneous in this regard too. I would urge the government to revise the policy and reform it. Joy is not alone! There are many Joys, whose dreams are being shattered due to their unwanted shortcomings and the Board's such policies.
However, Joy dreams to study abroad in Computer Engineering. He wants to be an educated man in order to serve other disabled people, who are going through tough times like he is undergoing now. Joy expresses his desire to take on the world sitting on a wheelchair!
Let's let Joy chase his dream and help him turn it into reality. On this note, I would urge the government, NGOs, and individuals to come forward and offer their hands to shape Joy's dream.
Raihana Sayeeda Kamal is a Sub-Editor,
The Daily Observer and she can be reached at email@example.com