Today, I saw a posting on one of the mailing lists in India requesting for a scribe to write an examination for visually impaired. There’s no surprise in it, but what made me to feel surprised is that the candidates has to appear a bank examination conducted online!! If the examination is conducted online, why should there be a need for a scribe?
While I have investigated further, I am yet to get complete information but it appears either bank examination centre do not equip with Assistive Technologies or Examination system is not accessible and hence candidate is looking for a scribe!
I feel, at such scenario, the change needs to come at both bank authorities, candidate and individual / organizations who would be putting efforts to help respective candidate.
As far as bank is concerned, they should ensure to provide assistive technologies to the candidate. I know, some of the assistive technologies like JAWS , that most users are comfortable but the software is expensive. One way to deal with this is to use evaluation copy of the same, if examination do not exceed 40 minutes. If not, bank should provide open source screen reader NVDA , that is equally a powerful screen reader.
As far the candidates are concerned, they should be comfortable in taking up online exams and be able to explain the authorities about assistive technologies. Most often, bank authorities would be willing to make necessary accommodation, but they would not aware of about advancement of technologies.
Today, unfortunately, most of the visually impaired candidates are not comfortable to take up online exams and it’s due to lack of qualitative training, although, there are several organization claim they impart computer training, it’s sad that except a very few of them, most organization do not have quality training programs. So again, I would urge that all the organization working in the disability sector need to keep track of advancement of technology and offer appropriate training programs.