Kartik Sawhney ,who had participated in Eduheal Foundations Olympiad in 2011 had to wage a battle before being allowed to study science after class tenth. The CBSE did not allow Kartik, who is completely blind, as they thought he will not be able to handle the scientific notations — equations,graphs, diagrams — required for science. CBSE was wrong.. Kartik scored a 95% aggregate in science with computers in class XII.
Karthik was encouraged to participate in Eduheal Foundations National interactive Maths , Science and Cyber Olympiad [NIMO ,NISO,ICO] by his mother and Dr Sandeep Ahlawat,Managing trutee,Eduheal Foundation[EHF].Assisted by a scribe ,He scored an all India merit position and was awarded by Shri Arun Yadav,Former MOS,Industries,GOI at the prize distribution ceremony organized by EHF at the National Science Centre,New Delhi.
It is erroneously understood that a scribe with a science background can help the candidate with his answers. Hence, Kartik had to work with readers who are novice to scientific terminology in question papers. “I’ve had one reader describe a symbol as an “ulta V”, he said. It could’ve been a pi or a lambda. “But I don’t know,” he said, “I’ve never seen a ‘pi’.”
In school, Kartik was even allowed to perform experiments, but none that were hazardous, involving toxic chemicals. He also used a range of assistive devices and software — he used one to convert graphs into verbal descriptions. But there was little material available that was accessible.
“In India, we don’t generally use ebooks. I used a screen-reader but didn’t have text books on the computer,” he said.
The DPS, R K Puram, student is now off to Stanford University to study computer science. Like CBSE,IIT-JEE had its rules for visually impaired. Changes in IIT-joint entrance exam rules introduced last year have made it impossible for blind students to qualify.
But all that work has paid off as he leaves for Stanford on September 2. He was extremely happy with the way the SATs are conducted. “You’re allowed readers and they give you test booklets where the word is written for the symbols,” he says.