In a 1st, Mumbai girl to take HSC exam using iPad

MUMBAI: In a first for the Maharashtra state board, a city college student affected by a movement disorder will appear for the HSC exams, starting on Thursday, using an iPad. Nishka Hosangady, 20, an Arts student of Sophia College, will type the answers on the iPad using a single left finger, and a writer will transcribe them on the answer sheet.

Nishka’s speech was impaired and her right hand movement was restricted at the age of eight when she was affected by a rare hereditary condition that manifested as dystonia. After losing two years, she enrolled in a special school and appeared for class X exams through NIOS board using an iPad two years ago. “Her speech was affected so she could not dictate answers to a writer. We requested the board to allow her to use an iPad. After multiple visits, the board agreed and she secured good scores,” said her mother Rashmi.

College extended provisions to girl

For class XI, Nishka joined Arts stream in Sophia College, where similar provisions were extended. “The college allowed her to use the iPad during exams, but we were told to inform the state board for end-ofthe-year exams. Board officials said it would be up to the college to allow us to use the device. Support from college continued even when we wanted permission for HSC exams,” said Rashmi.

Her vice-principal, Sister Annie Peter, said the college was very proud of their special student. “She is extremely bright and we wanted to do all we can to ensure that she gets what she deserves,” she said. While undecided on what she wants to pursue, Nishka’s parents want her to continue her education at that college because of the support that her teachers and peers extended for two years.

Last year, the board for the first time allowed a student to appear for the exam using a computer. This year, the board’s Mumbai division received two more such requests. “We want institutions to help differently-abled special children who have so much to contend with in their daily lives, by allowing them assistive devices, making available writers easily to live their dreams,” said Rashmi.

Mumbai division has provided concessions to more than 1,900 students with special needs this year.

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