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PETALING JAYA: The Education Ministry has agreed to consider allowing a dyslexic boy to sit for the PT3 assessment examination as an open-book exam, according to his mother.
Bhavani Krishna Iyer told FMT she wrote to the ministry last month to request special consideration for her 16-year-old son, whom she referred to as AK.
She said the ministry had acknowledged the request in three phone calls.
“The Special Education Unit said it needed a little time to study the request and will be in touch with me soonest. The office of the Deputy Education Minister said it will make an appointment for me to meet with an officer from the unit.”
She also said she was making arrangements to meet with the special education teacher and the principal at her son’s school to seek their support. The school has the capability to assist students with learning difficulties, but the assistance is insufficient for someone like AK, who is unable to retain the facts he studies, according to Bhavani. She said this was what she told the ministry.
“I was told by experts in dyslexia that this is a typical symptom of the disease,” she said. “So I want to meet with an officer from the Special Education Unit to discuss the exemptions or special permissions that can be provided to my son during the exam.
“If he can be allowed to have an open-book exam, that can help.”
AK was diagnosed with dyslexia 10 years ago. Three years ago, Bhavani and tuition teachers began to notice that he has trouble retaining facts. She said this was despite his diligence in trying to accomplish goals he had set for himself.
The difficulty in retaining facts was especially noticeable with mathematical formulas, she said.
Clinical assessments have found no problem apart from dyslexia, which is basically his inability to process letters. This has now been overcome.
“He is able to read and write fluently,” Bhavani said. “But I am told by a trained special education teacher that retaining facts is indeed common not just in dyslexics, but in children with all kinds of learning disabilities.
“AK grasps his lessons pretty quickly. The problem is his ability to retain. The next day, he forgets, but all he needs is a little prompting before he gets on track again.”
She clarified that she was not insisting that AK be allowed to refer to his books while doing his exam. She said she would be satisfied if he was allowed to sit for the exam with the help of notes that could trigger his memory.
“I have seen my son writing short notes for science and mathematics to trigger his memory,” she said.
“To what extent this can be accommodated is a matter for the ministry and the Examination Syndicate to agree on.
“I am of the view that children with learning problems should be allowed teaching aids during an examination.”
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