Indore (Madhya Pradesh): The All-India Council for Technical Education has sought from technical institutions an action-taken report on guidelines for inclusive digital education for all, including persons with disabilities (PwDs).
Citing the National Education Policy (NEP), 2020, that emphasises equal opportunity to education for all, the AICTE had issued the guidelines in August. However, it was brought to the notice of AICTE officials that the guidelines fell on deaf ears, so it has sought an action-taken report by October 25.
Through the guidelines, technical institutions have been told to give free laptops and Internet charges to PwDs through institute/state government and special assistance for their training and placement.
Technical institutions have been told to establish a cell known as ‘Equal Opportunity Facilitation Cell (EOFC)’, comprising six members.
The responsibility of the cell will be to promote admission of PwDs to technical institutions, create awareness among stakeholders in the area of equal opportunities on a regular basis, address special needs of the students pertaining to the teaching-learning process and develop disabled-friendly teaching-learning process making use of modern tools and assistive technologies.
The cell will also ensure that an institution’s campus is PwD-friendly, with ramps, signages, designated parking and so on.
For an accessible teaching-learning process for PwDs, the cell should be adequately funded—both in terms of the required resources and trained manpower. The cell should also monitor progress by taking periodic feedback from students with disabilities. Training a large number of teachers who have full-time/part-time responsibility towards these activities, itself, is a challenge and special SWAYAM courses are being proposed for the same. These teachers should be familiar with ‘accommodation’ solutions for enrolled students even if the institution is not fully accessible.
Special provisions for PwDs in the exams should also be made, the AICTE said, adding that 20% to 50% of the questions in the paper should be of the objective type.
“Facilities for students with specific learning disabilities and dedicated centres of learning diversity (CLDs) may be set up to help implementation of the initiatives and provide the requisite support within the institute,” the guidelines read.
The AICTE said the institutions were required to include details related to the availability of a barrier-free environment for students with disabilities on their websites, including details of the admission process, support services available and status of PwDs. “Institutes should create a separate budgetary head covering expenditure towards activities promoting inclusion of PwDs,” the AICTE stated.