When Vidhya Y, took the stage at the 17th convocation of the International Institute of Information Technology-Bangalore (IIIT-B) held on Sunday, a roar of applause resonated among the crowd. Not only because she received the Institute Gold Medal, but for also shutting down those who mocked her choices because of her visual impairment.
Fighting all odds, she stood among the toppers of her batch of Masters of Science in Digital Society with a score of 3.82 out of 4 CGPA in her post graduation.
She was among nine others to be conferred the Msc in Digital Society degree.
While in school, Vidya was told, science would be too difficult for her and was forced to study economics.
“I pursued my primary education from a blind school. When I entered class 8, I wanted to change the school but many of them refused admission. Later, I studied at Attibele Public School. I was forced to study economics as I was told that I will not be able to do well in math and science,” she told The New Indian Express.
She stood her ground and scored 95% in her board exams, driving all doubts about her inability away. Despite being determined to study science, the hurdles did not give way. “To study science, neither were there tactile diagrams nor equipment in the labs that were disabled-friendly. I had to take commerce. Everyday it was a 58km travel to Christ University. I took commerce with a combination of math for the love of the subject,” she said.
When she was unable to finish her math paper on time, the PU Board raised several questions. “Why did you take math? Take humanities like the other blind students, they told me. We had to later approach the education minister and seek permission for more time,” said Vidhya.
“During my undergraduate course in computer applications, I had a scribe for the exams for the first two terms, but I faced problems. Then I had to request them to let me take the exam on a computer by myself,” she told The Times of India.
Talking about her childhood dream to be a doctor, she expressed sadness over not being able to choose science because of her disability. In order to not let any child go through, what she went through, she plans on building technology that will make learning these subjects easier for visually impaired primary school students and move on to higher classes as well.
Launched in 2015, MSc Digital Society is a two-year course seeking to train students with a background in any discipline to work at the intersection of IT and Social Sciences. Students are then equipped in a way to be able to design digital technologies for diverse social groups, and provide solutions that will address developmental challenges in health, education and governance.
Feature photo credits: edexlive.com