TODAY -

World Disability Day
Date : 3rd December, 2020 - Rajiv Gandhi University (RGU), Arunachal -



Rajiv Gandhi University (RGU) joined hand with the world community in celebrating the World Disability Day on 03 Dec, 2020; an event celebrated every year from 1992 onwards vide United Nations initiatives. To mark the event, Department of Education convened a webinar on the theme; Rights of Person With Disabilities (RPWD) Act, 2016: The way forward through virtual platform, Zoom.

The webinar aimed to give impetus to the issues pertaining to people with disabilities, their rights, pay respect, due to them, and to discuss the ways their full inclusion in the society and all walks of life can be ensured like other human beings. Prof. Kesang Degi, Head, Department of Education, R.G.U. welcomed the dignitaries and Dr. Akash Ranjan proposed vote of thanks.

Dr. Sumin Prakash set the tone with a brief introduction and outlined the theme of the UN for this year celebration ‘Building back better: towards an inclusive, accessible and sustainable post COVID-19 world by, for and with PWDs’.

Addressing the gathering Dr. N. T. Rikam, Registrar, RGU, accepted the injustices that the common people do to the PWDs either knowingly or unknowingly in their daily lives. He further opined that there should be visible changes in the life of such people; otherwise merely launching schemes won’t help until we perform our duties towards PWDs.

Smt. Shakuntala Doley Gamlin, Secretary, Person with Disability Department under Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, GOI, and Chairperson, Rehabilitation Council of India (RCI), MSJE, Govt. of India, New Delhi as Chief Guest of the programme cited some examples like Stephen Hawking, Albert Einstein, Bill Gates, who despite their one or other form of disabilities, whether visible or invisible showcased their potentials, achieved excellence in their lives and became role models for the entire world and opined the PWDs in our locality and society should not be stigmatized as they are not lesser mortals.

She further elaborated the provisions made in the Rights of PwDs Act, 2016 as increased reservation in admission in Higher education institutions from earlier 3% to now 5%, and in jobs from 3% to 4%. She urged state governments to come with standard rules based on the above act, to permeate it to the Panchayat levels and make buildings and infrastructure accessible for PWDs, as disability affairs come under the concurrent list.

She further highlighted the actions taken by the MSJE for transforming existing buildings, transport facility into accessible form under Sugmya Bharat Abhiyan. To curb stress, anxiety, suicidal tendencies among youths with disabilities Kiran helpline had been established, that gives support in 13 Indian languages and a new National Institute at Shehore, M.P. is underway for Mental Health and Rehabilitation; she informed the gathering.

RCI is engaged in manpower development in 17 professional categories including teacher preparation for Children With Disabilities (CWDs) and has successfully educated 14 lacks teachers for the field. She put forward the roadmap to engage RGU students in different certificate, diploma and degree courses and collaborate with the RCI as there is huge demand of the manpower, projected to be 40 lacs in the future. She assured of all possible help to RGU to venture into education and skill development of Students With Disabilities (SWDs) from her ministry.

Speaking on the occasion as Distinguished speaker, Prof. Gowramma I.P., Head, Department of Education, R.I.E. (NCERT), Bhubaneshwar, Odisha, thrown light on the causes of increase in the gap in literacy rate in disability population from 49% in 2001 to 54.52% in 2011. She pointed out the dual challenges faced by PwDs i.e., socio-economic marginalisation and deprivation on account of their conditions. She added we don’t need to do great things but we can start with small things and being teachers should look at the strengths of the CWDs with individualized approach.

Mr. Yumlam Kaha, Director, Social Justice and Empowerment Tribal Affairs, Govt. of Arunachal Pradesh, informed that more than 33 000 PWDs are there in Arunachal Pradesh as census 2011. He further informed about the state’s intervention in the form of; issuing unique ID to PWDs and disability pension at the rate of Rs.1700 per month.

He further informed that a Physiotherapy centre is operational in Naharlagun, new project for vocational training institute is underway and CRC is being setup. He urged Rajiv Gandhi University to start a department to take care of the education and training of disabled people.

Dr. Akhil Paul, Founder Director of Sense International, India, as distinguished speaker elaborated the problems faced by the disabled students and what Higher education institutions need to do for them. He added that curriculum should be adapted as mentioned in NEP 2020, accessibility in admission process, physical spaces including building and playground, to ensure accessibility for SWDs. Educational functionaries, teachers and support staffs therein need to be sensitized for Inclusion of SWDs in higher education.

Dr. Himangshu Das, Director, National Institute for Empowerment of Persons With Visual Disabilities (NIEPVD), Dehradun, India, as distinguished speaker urged that we need to increase our commitment towards PWDs and emphasized for strengthening of the Equal Opportunities Cells in the universities. He specified lot of works are pending in policies and acts and we have to work a lot for disabled people.

He cited that Bhutan despite lack of resources became one of the world’s happiest countries and worked remarkably in Disability management. He further affirmed that India can do better on this front and lack of resources will not be an impediment to this, for that matter we need to be a bit more empathic for them.

For this to happen, universities need to undertake empathy development exercises, infuse contents on disability in Faculty Development Programmes (FDPs) and involve student community in inclusive practices to develop peer support for SWDs. He offered that NIEPVD can collaborate to make RGU a Model Accessible University.

Hon’ble Vice Chancellor of RGU Prof. Saket Kushwaha, in his concluding remarks as chairperson of the webinar expressed that we should always be respectful for PWDs in our conversations and day-to-day associations. God has made such people more capable than the normal human beings in many areas of human endeavours.

He outlined the varsity’s commitment towards PWDs and assured that research proposals pertaining to the issues of such people will be funded by the internal resources. He further expressed that accessible infrastructural facilities will be created in phased manner, so that SWDs can have a feel of pleasant barrier free environment, get quality higher education and progress further in their life.


* This information is sent to e-pao.net by Vivek Singh who can be contacted at viveducator(AT)gmail(DOT)com
This Post was webcasted on 04 December 2020

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