Devbrat Patnaik

Bhubaneswar: If one has a strong will to pursue higher education, with time s/he realises age is no barrier. Fighting all odds, two Odisha women - one nearing 50 and the other in her mid 30s, have set an example for many such dreamers by appearing in the annual HSC examination this year.

Sanju Pattnaik (49) of Mahulalata village under Bonai Range of Sundergarh district was motivated by seeing her son study. "I had a strong inclination towards studies. My son advised me to study and appear for the examination and I did that. If the clear the matriculation exams, I will study further," said Sanju.

A second-time examinee, Rashmita Kisan (35) of Jamanakira in Sambalpur has ensured that women like her do not deviate from the path of their dreams. "I want to do something in the future. I had earlier appeared in the matriculation examination back in the year 2002, but could not clear it then. At any stage, I feel, education is important because it will better our skills which will subsequently better ourselves and the world we live in. I can do many things in life if I study hard," feels Kisan.

And for the first time ever, Divyang students in Bhubaneswar, Balasore, Sundergarh and other districts of Odisha appeared for the HSC examination along with other students. Though the sets of question papers were same, these physically, visually challenged and deaf and dumb students are being allotted 50 minutes additional time for a 2:30 hour-long exam and 30 minutes extra time for a two-hour examination.

Special arrangements were made by all the respective district education departments for these disabled kids. While they were made to sit in a separate examination hall, the children were also facilitated with scribes to help them write the exams.