Kartik Sawhney, a visually-impaired teen from New Delhi, is changing the way Indian educators look at disabled students. Sawhney, 18, pulled through challenging science courses in the country's central board exams with flying colors and is now set to attend Stanford University this fall.
Because of the heavily visual aspects of high school math and science courses (graphs and diagrams, for example), India's Central Board of Secondary Education opposed Sawhney's desires to study those subjects, according to the Times of India.
"After class VIII, most blind were exempted from studying maths and science. They would be offered subjects like music," George Abraham, CEO of Delhi's Score Foundation, told the paper.
Sawhney also encountered trouble with the Indian Institue of Technology's entrance exam, NDTV reports. The exam doesn't cater to blind candidates, making it impossible for him to study science and engineering at one of the country's top colleges.
With some help from his school and an NGO campaign, and after writing dozens of letters to the CBSE, Sawhney was able to take the courses he wanted and scored 96 percent in his senior year, Times of India reports. He will be studying computer science at Stanford starting in September.
"The journey was discouraging at times. But it’s satisfying to have gotten into Stanford, which has a support system for visually-challenged students," Sawhney told the Hindustan Times.
In an interview with NDTV, Sawhney said he hopes to become a software developer and produce applications that are accessible to people with a wide range of disabilities.