News Update


Indian student who writes exams for those who are unable to

In Bengaluru, a bustling metropolis in southern India, a blind man sought Pushpa in 2007 for assistance in crossing a busy street. He made another request once they had crossed over, and it forever altered her life.

The recollection of Pushpa, who goes by one name, is “He asked me if I could write an exam for his friend.”

She agreed, but when the big day arrived, her joy gave way to dread. She was unsure of what to anticipate because she had never taken an exam for another person.

The writing of exams on behalf of many Indian students with learning or physical limitations is done by a scribe. They speak their responses to the scribe, who records them. Government regulations state that scribes are not permitted to write for any subject that they have personally studied at the university level. They may receive a set payment for government-conducted tests, but the majority of the time, the work is voluntary.


“There was tension for three hours. Pushpa, the volunteer who volunteered her services without payment, recalls the candidate’s delayed dictation of the answers and repeated requests for her to read aloud the questions.

But she had enough of an impact to ensure that Hema, a 19-year-old who goes by one name, passed her final exams.

Pushpa soon received a request for assistance from an NGO that works with blind individuals, followed by other pupils. Pushpa has taken more than 1,000 free tests over the previous 16 years.

She tells the BBC that the exam halls are like a second home to her.

Pushpa has assisted individuals taking entrance exams and selection tests for government employment in addition to school and university exams.

Pushpa poses with two vision handicapped test takers.
Image caption: Pushpa (center) and two examination candidates who are blind
“Now I do it on a regular basis. I don’t feel any tension,” she adds, adding that the experience has taught her a lot about numerous topics, from history to statistics, about which she was previously ignorant.

She has assisted pupils who were blind, had cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, autism, dyslexia, or who were injured in accidents.

But at times, it might be difficult. Pushpa claims that she has to “concentrate hard and look at their [the students’] lip movements to try to understand words” when working with cerebral palsy patients whose speech is frequently affected by the condition.

But she accepts it with grace. Karthik (he goes by one name), a wheelchair user, has used her assistance to write 47 tests.

Their long partnership was established by a crisis. Kartik’s scribe abruptly left during an exam at school, and Pushpa came in to assist. The 25-year-old says he is really grateful for her ongoing support ever since.

I’m fortunate to have Pushpa as a scribe. For us, scribes are actually like gods, he claims.

They have a deep understanding of one another because to their years of working together; Karthik has since graduated and is getting ready for government clerical recruitment exams.

Pushpa claims, “I have written numerous exams for numerous pupils, and each one has a distinctive tale.

with Pushpa and Karthik
Karthik claims that scribes like Pushpa are like gods to him.
Pushpa wrote a university degree exam paper for Bhoomika Valmiki, who was 19 years old, in the third week of March.

Ms. Valmiki, who is blind, studies using text-to-audio tools, but these programs are not permitted during tests.

Pushpa must write for me in order for me to advance in my life, Ms. Valmiki claims.

Pushpa patiently waited till I had finished my responses. She never interrupted me or asked me again before recording my responses, the speaker continues.

Most of the clients Pushpa works with have trouble getting into college, but she claims her compassion won’t compromise her morality.

“My job is to write what they say,” she claims. “When they ask me to tick a false response or recite a grammatically incorrect sentence, I am powerless to object. No, I can’t step in.

She translates words for students who fail to understand English when speaking other languages. Pushpa states, “That is the only assistance I offer.

Pushpa and a candidate who is blind
picture caption
Additionally, passing many tests has enhanced Pushpa’s understanding.
Poor people make up Pushpa’s family. Her mother worked arduously to provide for her and her brother when her father was hurt in an accident.

She remembers having to leave school at one point because she and her brother couldn’t afford the expenses.

Pushpa claims that she volunteered as a scribe to return this kindness to society when a complete stranger stepped in to assist.

Over the years, she has worked a variety of part-time jobs to support herself, but the last few years have been especially challenging.

Her brother died in 2020, and her father died in 2018. Pushpa, who was then jobless, received more unfavorable news a year later.

“My mum passed away in May 2021. I took 32 tests in August, a few months afterwards. On certain days, I would take two examinations.

She claims that writing was therapeutic for her and that it helped her get through her loss.

Pushpa receiving a national award from Ram Nath Kovind, then-President of India
Caption for photo: Pushpa’s art has received national recognition
Her steadfast efforts were not in vain. She received recognition for her services on March 8, 2018, from Ram Nath Kovind, the Indian president at the time. Along with other prize recipients, she also had a meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Pushpa currently works for a software startup and delivers inspirational speeches at business gatherings.

However, she continues to write tests for others who are unable, and since she is fluent in Tamil, Kannada, English, Telugu, and Hindi, there is a high demand for her services.

“I volunteer my time and effort. Someone’s life is changed if I write their exam, she claims.


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