[AI] Guidelines for exams

pamnani kanchanpamnani at hotmail.com
Tue Feb 12 20:33:26 EST 2008

1. DeenaNath
Thank you for your detailed mail. Please may I use it as a part of the 
compilation that will be handed over to the Ministry next week?
In any event I will be using some of its contents for the final draft from 
our side.

2. As far as the Draft Policy is concerned I had circulated a draft on 29th 
November on accessindia. Many of you had made suggestions. At that time I 
had been able to make some changes but could not complete the job so I had 
submitted the draft but told the Disability Commission that I needed to 
amend my own draft.

3. Subsequently SBI and RBI had made their comments and filed their 

4. Now the scope has been increased to include other disabilities.
5. I am working on the final draft and will try to post the Policy today or 
latest tomorrow on accessindia. Therefore I am not sending the old draft as 
some of you have requested.

6. Will need urgent comments to enable me to file the final document from 
our side and hopefully the final decision to be taken on 19th Feb.

7. If anybody has any letters from Examining Authorities or any 
correspondence showing the problem or any leniency given and does not mind 
sharing it then please let me know. Scan and send dont OCR or edit.
----- Original Message ----- 
From: "deena nath" <derup122 at yahoo.com>
To: <accessindia at accessindia.org.in>
Sent: Tuesday, February 12, 2008 20:45
Subject: [AI] Guidelines for exams

To respond to the request from Ms. Kanchan Pamnani in 'Access India' on 8 
Feb 2008, I would like to submit as follows:

  A totally sightless person myself, I have been working for Punjab National 
Bank for 22 years or so.  I along with my other fellow visually disabled 
employees in the Bank had been facing until 2006, a common problem at the 
Examination Centre whenever each of us appeared for the Promotion Test. 
These problems included:
  Nowhere on the Notice Board at the Examination Centre were our Roll 
numbers ever written/displayed, thus, keeping us in a chaotic and confused 
situation that simply forced us to do nothing but stand and wait for someone 
to tell us which room had been arranged or where to go and report.

  Though the number, the names and the chosen medium of writing papers of 
the visually disabled candidates appearing for the Test had been well known 
to the Bank in advance, the arrangement of the room and the availability of 
the scribe had been made at random in a shabby/perfunctory manner, just 5-10 
minutes before the paper would start.  While our sighted counter-parts well 
began writing their answers, we only start filling up our personal relevant 
details in the answer sheet.

  Most of the time, we landed up getting a scribe inconsistent with the 
requirements coupled with late sitting, late supply of the Information 
Booklet, late distribution of answer sheet and non-availability of 
knowledgeable/responsible person at the relevant time for clarifications in 
case of need, simply delayed, disrupted and slowed down the process of 
filling up the applicable personal details and that of commencement, pace 
and completion of writing the Test itself.

  A great deal of time, that way, went already wasted/lost by the time we 
settled down for writing our papers.

  No time could we ever get for necessary familiarity and interaction with 
and, understanding of the scribe in terms of genuine expectations and 
requirements, say, his/her medium, fluency, adequate knowledge of what to 
tick where, etc.

  Frustratingly, English medium candidate got Hindi medium scribe and the 
Hindi medium candidate got English medium scribe.

  Also, we were seated in the hurriedly arranged room mostly not 
orderly -making some of us seated at the entrance of the room, too noisy 
particularly during extra hour, no fan, no generator back up, Late 
distribution of question paper and answer sheets, The responsible person 
coming and going, not timely guiding what to fill etc.

  Personally speaking, for reasons yet to be ascertained, the scribe 
assistance provided to me in the August 13 2006 was a mere formality and 
mockery of the arrangement.  The scribe of the quality and standard as made 
available to me, was so bad and inadequate that profoundly disadvantaged me 
and terribly interfered with my ability to comprehend and attempt the entire 
question paper for reasons of his weaknesses and inadequacies (inability to 
speak and read even common/simple English words like: "mention" and 
sentences in the question papers clearly, correctly, coherently and 
intelligibly).  I doubt whether I would have gone through even 40 questions. 
I would have certainly gone much faster and attempted many more questions 
had I been provided a scribe of medium of my choice who could speak and read 
the questions fluently, clearly, correctly coherently and intelligibly.  The 
question had to be repeated again and again, owing to my inability to follow 
him.  I had to simply
 guess and sense what word it could be. As a result of that, I lost much of 
my time in guessing the possibility of the words and phrases 
misread/misspoken rather than finding out the correct answer.

  Attention of the Bank Authorities was drawn to the occurrences and 
irregularities and, when they ignored my submissions, the matter was 
referred to the Office of Commission for Persons with Disabilities whereupon 
the Bank responded as follows:

  ". The scribe was provided to him through the Chief Test Administrator as 
per Head Office guidelines. However his concern about the conduct of the 
exam has been noted and next time better arrangement shall be made for 
candidates including blind candidates."

  The issue dragged on for a year with prolonged silence on the part of the 
Bank.  Much of the happenings as narrated to them pertaining to the 
infrastructure and arrangements were tacitly acknowledged though the 
question of providing a quality and standard scribe was put on the back 
burner with no clear-cut commitment.  For the time being, the matters stands 
resolved with assurance from the Bank that my suggestions have been noted 
for consideration.  I had submitted to the Commission as follows:

  Our Roll numbers and the room(s) should be displayed on the Notice Board 
at the Centre as is always done in case of the sighted candidates.  This 
will save everyone's time, help us to reach the allotted room and take our 
respective seats well in time and allow us a little time to check anything 
going/gone wrong, report the same to the concerned and seek remedy thereof.

  The scribe(s) should report for his/her duties half-an-hour before the 
paper to start in the room arranged for us so that we could get in touch 
with the named scribe, confirm all the applicable aspects, seek correction 
if needed and, begin our business well in time if everything is fine.

  A separate and exclusive invigilator/supervisor should be provided for our 
room with additional responsibility to ensure timely supply of relevant men 
and materials, timely commencement of the process corrections and 
clarifications in case of need.

  The most sticky and contentious issue is that of a Quality and standard 
scribe.  The purpose of a scribe assistance/facility is to get informed of 
all the visual aspects and getting the same handled properly and timely, 
getting all the instructions, questions and the choices read fluently, 
quickly, correctly, clearly and coherently enough in the chosen 
medium/language of the candidate to enable him/her to understand, choose and 
act upon the right choices as well as to move fast enough without 
unnecessary/avoidable obstructions.  It seems, the Bank simply picks up on 
predetermined quantum of payment basis, the number of persons equal to that 
of the appearing visually disabled candidates to act as their scribe from 
the same school where it holds the examination, without ever applying any 
mind as to the essential attributes and aptitude of the scribe -medium, 
fluency, clarity, understanding of what to fill up, where and in which 
technical terms and manner.  Who gets which
 scribe and of which medium at the Examination Centre, is purely a matter of 
chance and coincidence.

  If the bank cannot make proper selection of the scribe, it should leave to 
the appearing candidates themselves to arrange one with full approval of the 
same by the Bank.  The Bank can check all the credentials and qualifications 
of the scribe arranged by the appearing candidate.

  If the Bank insists upon the Bank's-Provided-Scribe-System, it can do so 
providing for as follows:

  The name and the medium of the scribe of each candidate should be made 
known to the appearing candidate in advance preferably, at the same time as 
the Information regarding Roll number and the Centre is supplied so as to 
enable him/her to take up the matter with the Office/Officer concerned in 
event of any error(s) or inconsistencies (Name and the medium not mentioned 
or the medium of the mentioned scribe different from the appearing 
candidate's stated one.  It need not inform of his/her other identities, 
say, School/college, residence, telephone number and the like.  Such a 
provision will help us to immediately look for our respective scribes.  This 
will help to remedy any situation arising out of mismatch, say, the scribes 
getting inadvertently/erroneously interchanged and so on.

  It should be ensured that the scribe arranged by the Bank is 
candidate-stated-medium-specific, generally and reasonably fast, fluent, 
clear and conversant with all the visual parts/technical aspects of the 
paper -where to fill up which detail, where and in which technical/artistic 
fashion, whom to contact for clarification in case of confusion, in how much 
low/loud voice to read/speak, etc.

  Even with these suggested inclusions, ultimately and fundamentally, the 
Arrangement in question remains the same.  We cannot be sure and certain of 
sincerity, competence, obedience and faithfulness of such a scribe as picked 
up at random whose identity, credentials and characteristics (qualification, 
general patience, fluency, manner of speaking, communicativeness, 
attentiveness, responsiveness and understanding/familiarity with the 
relevant requirements of the task) are neither known nor knowable.    Since 
it is the Bank that invites, accepts and pays him/her, he/she is likely to 
go by any advice, act in any prescribed manner and play on any tune called 
for by the Bank. 
If nothing else, this will give us in course of the Test and thereafter, at 
least, an immediate psychological feeling that there are/were no 
forced/imposed obvious unnecessary hurdles though
 failing or passing any Test will be ultimately, in the hands of the Bank.

  One of the reasons why the Bank seems to have been reluctant/resistant to 
the idea of candidate-arranged-scribe is the Bank's perception and suspicion 
that the so-arranged scribe may be better than and superior to, or, of the 
same standard as that of the candidate, hence, he/she would solve much of 
the paper on his/her own.  It may happen only if the self arranged scribe is 
a close relative/friend of the candidate, competing for the same or similar 
goal at the same time with the same intensity of endeavours as the candidate 
concerned.  That is quite unlikely and can be easily checked.

  In theory and principle, I agree and advocate that the scribe should not 
be a banker or in qualification, equal to or, higher than the appearing 
candidate.  However, such a view makes sense only in case where the 
candidate in need of scribe is appearing for a particular paper/subject.  It 
does not hold much good in case of appearing for a general competition.  The 
concept and the principle of the scribe to be less qualified than the 
requirements of the post in general for which, the visually disable employee 
appears, is flawed and capable of causing serious hurdles to the candidates.

  With regards,

  Deena Nath,
  Mob: 9868076288 9891873466

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