The world has a big misconception that a person with a disability cannot excel in life, that he does not have it in him to achieve his dreams. And society has made disabled students believe they should settle for less than they want and deserve. But some people went beyond society’s norms and achieved what they aspired for. Even the government has made it mandatory to include people with disabilities and employ them. However, because only a few students with disabilities are aware of these job opportunities, while the others remain oblivious, Saathi Enabling Centre came up with a set of webinars called Lakshya, to educate them about the same. The first webinar of Lakshya, regarding job opportunities in the banking sector, was conducted on 14th February 2021.
For this webinar, Saathi had called Nikhil Deshmukh, who is the assistant manager of State Bank of India, Sachin Mane, the Deputy Manager of State Bank of India, and Nishant Shah, Deputy Manager and Official Language Officer of Bank of Maharashtra to speak with the students. The webinar began sharply at 5:00 PM with Deepali Vaidya’s brief introduction, after which Santosh Dhotre Sir, the teacher coordinator of Saathi Enabling Centre, welcomed the chief speakers and the students. He elaborated on how this webinar was a guiding step for not just blind students but others, too, who wished to enter the banking sector. Seema Kharad, a visually impaired student from SYBA, emphasized the importance of this webinar for everyone. She then welcomed the speakers and urged the first speaker, Nikhil Sir, to tell the students a bit about him before beginning his guidance.
Nikhil Sir graduated in the year 2012. During those times, students after the 12th standard could appear for banking examinations. He explained how the exam was then and described how it is now. He elaborated on the exam pattern in the present year, the number of exams a student needs to appear for, and finally, he advised the students on how to perform for the interview. Sir asked the students to focus not only on the theory part, which they need to study, but also to have general knowledge about day-to-day happenings from around the world. Students today tend to multitask i.e., use phones when studying and he suggested they do not divert their focus from studying. Nikhil Sir urged Sachin Sir to take over.
Sachin Sir, who lost his sight after engineering, was good with Mathematics. He first told students about the subjects, which the exam is divided into, and then explained the significance of each. Mathematics, which is all about calculation, statistics, and application of formulae in the exam, needs special care because one needs to be familiar with the formulae and know how to implement the same in the problem. The students should also know tables, squares, cubes, square roots, and cube roots till 25, as it can help them solve faster. Another difficulty for visually impaired students is that they need to solve the entire paper within time even though they are given additional 10 minutes.
Quantitative Aptitude and Reasoning is another paper. He, with his personal experience of failing in reasoning the first time, suggested VI students practice as much as they can because the paper of reasoning is set in a way that can easily confound anyone. For this, the students must practice as many problems as they can in a team. He even suggested that they could join some classes and solve problems with other students to get unique insights as to how they can solve the same problem while considering the time limit.
One should also know English and the basic grammar of standard 8th, 9th, and 10th. They should familiarize themselves with the language as much as they can because it would help them during interviews as well. For visually impaired students, they must understand the spellings and focus on listening to the pronunciations and repeating them correctly.
Current Affairs hold as much significance as the other subjects. Sachin Sir told the students how helpful it would be if they read the newspaper or read something equally important related to daily events going on around the globe. He even recommended to them a couple of YouTube channels to watch every day for 15 minutes, which had helped him when he was appearing for the bank exam then, and which might help the students today.
When the students are appearing for the exam, their preparation holds far more importance than actually giving the exam. The students must familiarise themselves with the subject papers before appearing for them. He also advised them to read the instructions given in the question paper before starting the exam. After elaborating on how the marking system is, he instructed them not to answer the questions if they aren’t sure about the answer, as the paper has a negative marking. It would be rather better if they left a question and lost 1 mark, than answer the question and lost 1.25 marks, he said.
After Sachin Sir, Nishant Sir spoke about the different degrees and different positions in the bank. Sir is a Deputy Manager as well as an Official Language Officer (Rajbhasha Adhikari) of the bank. He elaborated on the various opportunities a student can get if they want to become an Official Language Officer. He explained the entire process along with the jobs performed by the officer. Besides, he talked about how the bank helps a VI student if he is appointed to the bank. With his personal experience, he told the students that it isn’t so easy yet not very difficult to work in a bank. The only issues that arise are because society and the people are under the impression that a person with a disability depends on someone else for every trivial thing. He urged the students to break this stereotype by educating everyone around them about their disability.
When all the speakers had finished, a Question-and-Answer session was held where the students could pose their doubts. The speakers effectively answered them all and tried to help them as much as possible.
The webinar ended with Dhiraj Yadav, the student coordinator, thanking the speakers for sharing their knowledge with the students. I am sure the students have understood how they can appear for banking examinations and of the various opportunities they get in that sector; he said. He thanked them as well as the students for attending the webinar. By the end of it, the speakers added they were happy to be of some help to the future generation.
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