How ICSE Schools Ensure Inclusive Education For Children with Disabilities

What is the CISCE?
The Council for Indian School Certificate exams is a national private board of education in India responsible for the curriculum of schools affiliated to the CISCE board. The council prescribes syllabi in various subjects of examination for the Indian Certificate of Secondary Education (Classes IX & X) and for the Indian School Certificate(Classes XI & XII) examinations and the Certificate of vocational education examination (Class XII). It has also prescribed curriculum for preschool to Class VIII.
The Council has provided special consideration and necessary arrangements in their regulations for candidates who have disabilities and also candidates who are in circumstances (including temporary injury and bereavement) requiring concessions in examinations on account of any other circumstances. They have guidelines in place for the concessions in examinations, syllabus and attendance.

Which disabilities are recognized by the CISCE?
The CISCE policy is not limited to children with disabilities, and the ‘special difficulty procedure’ will be applied to students requesting it on a case to case basis.
However, students with ‘permanent handicaps’ identified for concessions include children with visual impairment, ‘spastic’ children (with cerebral palsy), children with deafness or speech defect, children with specific learning disabilities.
However, if a case is made that a student faces a special difficulty, the rules permit for concessions to be made.

What are some important authorities governing the policy?
Examination Centre: is a school where ICSE/ISC examinations are conducted.
Convenor: is a principal of a school who heads a group of examination centres and is elected by the principals of schools that come under their purview. The convenor is responsible for examination arrangements.
Chief Executive and Secretary: is the authority that heads the CISCE Board.

What concessions does the CISCE provide for children with disabilities?
1. At the time of admission
Schools affiliated to the CISCE shall not discriminate against applicants on the basis of disability. If it is established that the school has denied admission to a child on account of the child’s disability, the council has the power to withdraw the school’s affiliation or temporarily suspend the affiliation in accordance with the CISCE affiliation rules VII (i).
2. In School
(i) Infrastructure
Infrastructure which accommodates students with disabilities is mandated under the CISCE affiliation rules.
Chapter III, Section 1 (h) provides for the school building to have lifts. Section 13 (f) mandates that a Counsellor and Special Educator be on the rolls of the school. Unfortunately there are no specific provisions throughout the Chapter pertaining to accessibility of services and infrastructure – like washrooms, emergency evacuation procedures, furniture, canteen and playground facilities.
However, Section 12 (l), mandates that ‘Provisions for students who are differently-abled’ be made available, which would extend to all facilities and services.
(ii) Attendance
The minimum required attendance is 75% per year of the two years (IX and X class/XI and XII class) to attend the examination. However Chief Executive and Secretary of the CISCE has the authority to condone attendance not less than 60% (absence due to illness or special circumstances).
The Chief Executive and Secretary may also condone shortages of attendance below 60% in exceptional cases (psychological/medical illnesses requiring long treatment/hospitalization or other unforeseen/special circumstances).
For this, the head of school must report the case of the student to the Council for consideration. The Chief Executive and Secretary would subsequently report the matter to the Executive Committee of the Council.
(iii) Curriculum Concessions
Exemption from the study of a third language may be made in special cases: such candidates shall be required to complete a course of studies in another subject approved by the Council.
Candidates who face special difficulty learning languages can be granted exemption from a second language paper, for instance, in case of severe learning disability of the candidate.
3. During Examinations
(i) For Practical Examinations
On request, the Council will permit the omission of map work, diagrams and practicals by colour blind candidates and the marking scheme will be adjusted accordingly. If required, the provision of a scribe many also be made (see below).
(ii) Compensatory time
The regular allowance time in case of a disability is:
15 min – 1 hour paper
30 min – 2 hour paper
45 min – 3 hour paper
However in certain cases this may be extended when the speed of writing is affected or for extensive writing papers such as english literature or history.
(iii) Scribes
When the student’s performance is effected to such an effect that any reasonable allowance of extra time will not meet the requirement of the student, a scribe may be provided (with/without extra time).The scribe will usually be a student who has not reached the same academic level as the student being examined. It is not clarified as to whether the scribe is entitled to any fees.
(iv) Use of typing facilities
Typing of answers by the candidate may be permitted. It is not clarified whether the school is to provide the typing and/or required assistive devices.
(v) Reading out the question paper
Question paper may be read out but not explained (candidates with defective eyesight or certified reading disability).
(vi) Provisions for answering the exam in a hospital:
a. Students can answer exams in hospital care if arrangements to that effect are approved in advance by the Council and appropriate medical certificate is submitted to the Council.
b. Invigilation arrangements made must be satisfactory to the Council (for instance, cannot be a member of the student’s family).
c. Any additional costs of the holding of the examination in this alternate venue will not be borne by the Council.
d. If the place of examination is not close to the school, a transfer policy will be followed for the question and answer papers as follows:
– The Council should be requested to provide question papers packed separately
– The answer papers should be dispatched in accordance with special instructions, which the supervising examiner/ invigilator receives from the council
– The supervising examiner/ invigilator cannot show candidates as absent but must attach a note explaining the reason for the answer script being dispatched separately
– In the event that the student has an infectious disease, the paper may be fumigated before dispatch in consultation with a medical officer

Special provisions for blind/partially blind candidates

(i) The Council will permit blind or partially sighted candidates to sit for the examination in all subjects except those that are essentially visual or have an important practical element
(ii) Candidates may be allowed to use a computer with Council permission

Special provisions for candidates with cerebral palsy

(i) Students may be allowed the maximum of double the time allotted for the examination if the student is non-verbal
(ii) The student may also be allowed the use of a computer

Special provisions for students who are deaf or have a speech defect

(i) All cases are addressed individually depending on the individual impairment
The Council may permit for examinations requiring an aural/ oral exam to be excused
(ii) The second language requirement may be waived if the student has over 60% degree of hearing impairment

Special provisions for candidates with specific learning disabilities and ADHD

(i) Arrangements should be made for examination to take place in an adjacent hall to the main examination hall
(ii) Casio fx-82 MS (scientific calculator) or a similar calculator is to be used for mathematics only. It is not clarified whether the school is to provide the same

How can your child avail of these benefits?
To avail examination concessions:
(i) Though it is not specified in the rules, parents or wards of students who require examination/curriculum accommodations should submit a letter to the head of the school containing all particulars regarding the student’s impairment (with a medical certificate) and the accommodations under the rules which are sought to be invoked. This will make it easier for the Head of the School to prepare a case for the Council
(ii) Heads of Schools concerned must obtain approval from the Council well in advance (at least six months) of the nature of impairment of the student and the subjects that they are answering
(iii) Schools must provide one copy each of the approval letter to the Convener and the Supervising Examiner at the appropriate time
(iv) Besides the concessions on account of long term impairments detailed above, in case a candidate suffers some injury or bereavement or dire unforeseen circumstances which may adversely affect his or her performance in the examination, the Special Difficulty procedure is used

In this case, a form is forwarded to the Council by the head of the candidates’ school and the candidates’ examination answer script is then given special consideration by a committee before the issue of the results. The Council’s committee does not give a “blanket” concession but treats every case on its merit, for experience has shown that candidates working under similar unusual stress are affected in widely different ways. For this reason, the Special Difficulty Form provides for the performance of the affected candidate to be compared with that of his/her other classmates.

To avail classroom and curriculum concessions

The rules do not provide for a specific procedure for availing of classroom concessions for students with disabilities. Parents are advised to submit the details of their ward’s impairments and the concessions required, to the Head of the School, along with appropriate medical certificates or disability certificates.
If the school fails to provide the same, this may be forwarded to the Council Office (see below) as the rules provide for a complaints redressal mechanism which also involves special inspections.

What can you do if the school denies your child these concessions?
The policy does not specify any grievance redressal mechanism. Complaints regarding the failure of the school to grant special concessions to students with disabilities or complete their duties with respect to notifying the Council regarding examination concessions in a timely fashion can be made to the Council.

The CISCE rules provide that in case of any complaint against or irregularity committed by an affiliated school, the school is bound to submit its explanation to the Council. The Council may also conduct a special inspection of the said school for verifying the matter raised in the complaint.

You can contact the Council here:

Council for the Indian School Certificate Examinations
P 35-36, Sector VI
Pushp Vihar, Saket
New Delhi – 110017
(011) 29564831/33/37