Denied a chance to appear for the IIT-JEE exams because he is visually impaired, an 18-year-old who scored 96 percent in his Class 12 CBSE has opted to study at Stanford University in the US.
"I would love to pursue my studies in my country, but the depressing guidelines of IIT-JEE last year have made it impossible for blind students to appear in the JEE (joint entrance exam)," Kartik Sawhney, who scored 479 out of 500 in the Class 12 exam conducted by the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), told IANS.
Till last year, blind students were exempted from visual input in JEE and had to attempt only the theory questions. However, a change in regulations disallowed visually impaired students to attempt the theory questions and they were not allowed to use assistive technology.
"The new policy also prescribed a scribe and reader only from humanities or commerce streams. How could he read out complicated mathematical equations from the question paper," Kartik asked.
"I had to fight to get a course like computer science in my Class 11 as the CBSE was objecting," Kartik said.
A student of Delhi Public School, R.K.Puram, in south Delhi, Kartik scored 99 in computer science and 95 each in mathematics, English, physics and chemistry. He scored 479 out of 500.
Urging that the education system should be more sensitive and tolerant towards the disabled, Kartik said: "We need to embrace change and the examination body was simply not willing to change the guidelines. They said they would not allow a scribe with a science background, saying that he would help me cheat. I said I would pay for the invigilator or an IIT professor to be my scribe, but they did not agree."
Kartik will be getting nearly $66,000 a year in scholarship from Stanford University on the basis of his economic status.
He leaves for Stanford on September 2.