Considering the request by Thalassaemia Society of Central India (TSCI), the Maharashtra State Board for Secondary Education has decided to give 20 minutes extra time per hour for students suffering from thalassaemia during the board examinations increasing the total examination duration for these students by one hour. The decision comes soon after a similar relaxation was granted for the students suffering from sickle cell disease (SCD) in May this year.
The board has issued a letter dated September 17, 2013, in this regard to all divisions. The demand for this provision for thalassaemia patients was made by the president of TSCI Dr Vinky Rughwani in June following provision for SCD students. Dr Rughwani told TOI he was grateful to the board authorities for considering and honouring his request. “I am delighted with the news. Board has announced 20 minutes time extra per hour for SCD students. Both SCD and thalassaemia students deserve this extra time to be able to compete with the other students. It is a real good and positive step,” he said.
Rughwani said that earlier most thalassaemia major patients would not survive the age of reaching Standard X or XII. But with regular blood transfusions and better medications in the past few decades their lifespan had increased. Though the disease does not effect mental abilities of a person, the extra one hour for board exam will act as a big incentive and motivation for these students as well as their parents to take the examination. The demand for this relaxation came after SCD was included for benefits in Rights of Persons with Disabilities (RPWD) Bill.
The board chairman Gangadhar Mahamane as well the board’s divisional secretary in city Anil Pardhi confirmed the decision to the TOI. ” Yes, the subject was put to the examination committee in a meeting held on September 7. The committee decided in favour of thalassaemia students and Dr Rughwani’s request,” Pardhi said. The letter issued by the board secretary reads, “However, for availing this facility students have to produce a medical certificate from the district civil surgeon. Hence, all the schools and junior colleges in all the divisions in the state should inform about this resolution to the students and display it on their notice boards”.
Kumar Bhure, a Std XII student from Narkhed who has lost both his parents, said the increase in exam time came as a blessing for him. “I am in Std XII. My hands have blisters and pain badly due to regular blood transfusions. This will increase my performance in exam,” he said.
* Thalassaemia patients require regular blood transfusions (at least thrice for two days in a month which causes huge loss of studies leading to dropouts). The extra time will act as an incentive and prevent dropouts
* Since they have low haemoglobin they get tired easily and giving extra time will help them perform better
* Many patients have pain in hands due to blood transfusions. More time will give them some relief as they can attempt more questions
* It will also encourage patients to opt for higher education
* It will help them concentrate better on writing the examination