Education July 12, 2020
Tech accessibility a major focus for visually impaired Arijeet Patil who scored 96% in class 10 boards
Arijeet Patil, a student of Mumbai’s Beacon High School has scored an overall 96% percent in his class 10 ICSE board exams. He wants to work as a technical advisor to companies or the government of India to devise solutions that cater to the needs of disabled people.
“The realisation I had done well actually sank in at the end of the day, several hours after the results were announced”, says Arijeet Patil. The 17-year-old sounds calm and sorted amidst all the exuberance and excitement following his class 10 ICSE board exam results.
Arijeet, who is totally blind, scored an overall 96% in his board exams. he achieved this with math and science as his subjects.
Lost sight when he was 2 years old
“I scored 98% in biology and Hindi with 99% in Math. I don’t know where I lost that one mark”, says Arijeet who lost his sight at the age of two. His parents and school were initially not too encouraging when he announced his decision to study math and science. A typical barrier many visually impaired students face given the inaccessibility challenges of solving equations and diagrams. Arijeet was determined not to be defeated by this.
I used many tools to help understand the diagrams and equations likeMath Site, available as an add on in MS Word. It has screen reader interpreters for fractions and helps solve chemistry equations. The programming language took a lot of time to learn as it is quite complex. I started learning it in class 8 and this was a boon to me. – Arijeet Patil, Scored 96% in class 10 ICSE board exam
Arijeet gives credit to the ICSE Council and school Beacon High School for their support. “They gave me extra time and for Math and Science. I could type the answers on the computer for these subjects. For others I had a writer”.
Arijeet attempted the same exam papers as everyone else and had to leave out questions that were diagram-based. These typically make up almost one-third of question papers. “I marked the diagram-based questions as inaccessible. This included science concepts that required visualisation. That meant I had some added pressure as I had to get the rest of the questions right. This meant I had to work that much harder”.
In his spare time, Arijeet loves to play the piano. He has been playing the instrument for almost 15 years. “I also go to the gym regularly to jog and do push ups etc to build my upper body strength”.
Arijeet will now attend Bombay International School. He has chosen an interesting mix of subjects – business management, global politics and English. He takes a keen interest in technology as well and wants to choose a career that combines his interest in humanities and social sciences. “I would like to be a corporate advisor specialising in technology or a government advisor to help devise solutions that cater to the needs of disabled people. I faced many accessibility barriers with apps during my tech journey and would like to address this”.
What are his tips for other visually impaired students? “I would like to tell them that it’s okay to feel sad, low and demotivated at times. You can even fight with your parents but ultimately if you are determined to persist with your dreams, you will prevail”.
- Top 3 reasons why accessibility is critical for EdTech companies to adopt. – Guest column by Shilpi Kapoor, Founder-CEO, BarrierBreak
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