Tag Archives: disabilities

Free education for physically disabled, incentives for rural colleges: VC

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University of Madras vice chancellor G Thiruvasagam on Wednesday unveiled a slew of proposed social initiatives aimed at expanding access to higher education to the underprivileged and those living in rural areas.

“All physically challenged students will be exempted from paying fees including examination fee in all courses. The modalities for assessing the minimum disability levels will be worked out in consultation with experts,” said Thiruvasagam. Taking into account that many rural students dropped out of higher education since they were unable to afford hostel fees in the city, the university has decided to encourage setting up of arts and science colleges in Tiruvallur and Kancheepuram districts by exempting them from paying the affiliation fee, inspection fee and other attendant charges.

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Awareness key to success of inclusive education

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There is a lack of awareness in India when its comes to extending help to socially disadvantaged groups, said the speakers at a discussion on inclusive education at Jadavpur University on Friday.

The discussion, a part of Anweshan 2009, was organised by Anwesha an association of parents and well-wishers of children and persons with hearing impairment. Speaking on the occasion, assistant commissioner (disabilities), K S Adhikary, said: “Constituting only 2% of the population, the physically challenged are considered a minority in India. We don’t have time for them.”

Sharing his experience as a state government officer, Adhikary said his department organises several seminars round the year on inclusive education. But there is a lack of interest. “We had once organised a foundation course, but had to drop it as no one enrolled,” he said.

Several mainstream schools have denied admission to disabled students on grounds that their teachers lack the requisite training. But the discussion pointed out that the government organises courses to train teachers in this aspect at a nominal rate.

Kartick Sen, registrar of Netaji Subhash Engineering College, said: “Every school should have seats reserved for disabled students.”

Pradipta Kanungo, principal of Patha Bhavan Montessori and Primary School, said they always encourage students with hearing impairment to take admission in their school. “Some of them are more meritorious than my normal students,” she said.

The second part of the programme saw a host of cultural activities organised by Prayas, a group working with underprivileged children. Students of Jadavpur Vidyapith, Patha Bhavan and children of Anwesha took part in it.

Source: Times of India

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Children’s education bill faces protests from disability activists

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The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Bill, 2009, which is being considered by the Lok Sabha, has invited protest from disability activists. They are of the view that the bill leaves out 20 million differently-abled children out of its ambit.

The human resource development (HRD) ministry, however, maintains that these charges are not accurate. “The bill does include children suffering from disability within its ambit. It clearly provides that children with disability will have the right to free and compulsory education in accordance with the provisions of the Persons with Disabilities Act, 1991,” HRD minister Kapil Sibal said.

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Education Bill ignores disabled children: Experts

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The much-hyped Right to Education Bill has drawn flak from a section of educationists for not making any provision to ensure access to quality education for differently-abled children.

Experts said the bill, now in Parliament, has taken recourse to “tokenism” when it comes to educating differently abled children, especially from poor families. Adding a few ramps in schools is the only provision it contains to deal with the issue, they pointed out.

“How does a disabled child from a poor family reach school? The Right to Education Bill, 2008, is just a token gesture to dilute the fundamental rights of such children to education and nutrition,” Anita Ghai, Reader, Department of Psychology, University of Delhi, told Deccan Herald. “We have at present approximately 30 million disabled children and out of them only 20 per  cent get proper education,” she said.

Maintaining that disability is never identified as the core issue to be addressed, Ghai said education should be considered all the more crucial for differently abled children as it helps them to lead an independent life.

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Learning becomes easy for visually impaired

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Education for visually impaired students is now easier thanks to audio files being easily accessible on a new portable, handy, pocket-sized device called the audio book reader (ABR). Designed by Saksham, a Nagpur-based non-governmental organisation (NGO) which works for the visually impaired, the ABR was demonstrated on Saturday at Saksham’s branch in Pune.

Equipped with a two-GB memory card, the device reads audio files stored in a multimedia card (MMC) with random access to any subject, book or chapter. It operates on only five buttons that can access the chapters and various audio files, and record up to 60 hours of audio.

Saksham came up with the device after a research of over two-and- half years. This also involved the team travelling all over the country and meeting various organisations working for the betterment of the visually impaired.

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TN announces school education schemes worth Rs 862.30 crore

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Tamil Nadu Government today announced a series of measures proposed to be implemented at a cost of Rs862.30 crore on school education front during 2009-10. Replying to demands of school education in the assembly, minister for School Education, Thangam Thennarasu, said, ” The cost will incur important activities such as civil works, grants, enrolling out-of-school children, inclusive education for the disabled, in-service training, innovative activities and community training,” “Enhancing Kasthurba Gandhi Balika Vidyalaya scheme would also be included in this proposal,” he added.

He said 66,896 out-of-school children would be enrolled and mainstreamed through various interventions such as residential and non-residential bridge courses, summer camps and special residential bridge courses. He also informed that around 1.18 lakh disabled children would be covered under inclusive education for disabled scheme. “Assistive devices will be supplied to 19,477 chidren. As many as 45,495 teachers and special teachers will be trained,” he added.

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Making Inclusive Education a Reality For Children With Disabilities

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One cannot argue adequately enough the importance of education and its over-arching influence on every aspect of a person’s life, least of all on that of a person with disability (PwD). Discriminated against, socially, politically and economically, education is arguably their only means to long term empowerment and social respectability, and yet sixty years on, India has rather unimpressive statistics to show for the level of literacy in the country. About 38% of the country’s population is illiterate, the rate is 15% higher among PWDs. Conservatively, there are about 10 million Children with Disabilities (CWD) in the country and about 90% of them are out of school.

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