Helping disabled students

Schools and educational institutions in our country have a large number of physically handicapped students on their rolls. These students need special attention in many ways. Ignorance among parents and lack of medical advice at young age or in childhood causes most of the physical disabilities. Some suffer accidents and become handicapped. However, with general awareness among the people, cases of physically handicapped is getting reduced.
These handicapped students are not provided facilities by respective institutions that would contribute to barrier free facility for these students. A handicapped student in Pune brought a case before the High Court of Maharashtra pleading for barrier free environment. The Court has passed a judgment asking the Centre and the Government of Maharashtra to provide barrier free environment to the handicapped students in all educational institutions in the State by March 15, 2015
Barrier free environment means for example ramps over which handicapped students can move in wheeled chairs or such toilet facilities as would make it convenient for the handicapped to ease themselves. This might also mean that the institutions lodged in multi-storey buildings shall have to put up electronic lifts and other facilities. In particular students papering for examinations have to be cared for according to the order of the court.
Prior to the order of the Mumbai High Court, Government agencies have already focused on the need for barrier free environment for the handicapped students. In a circular issued to all Vice Chancellors, the University Grants Commission of India on July 11, 2011 they were asked to provide barrier free environment for disabled students. Thereafter on December 8, 2012, the Ministry of Human Resource Development had instructed to make all educational institutions (buildings of universities, colleges and technical institutes, etc) barrier free and accessible for all types of disabilities. Again the UGC also issued a circular dated February 9, 2012 to the universities to take follow up action to make educational institutions barrier free and accessible for all types of disabilities.
Thus we find that the provision of barrier free environment for disabled students is a national requirement and we would emphasize that the Government of J&K State also issue instructions to all educational institutions and universities to ensure that the facility is provided to the disabled students in their institutions. The question is not whether any institutions has or has not disabled students on its rolls. This is a mandatory provision and the educational institutions have to comply with it. In fact the Education Department should ask for a status report from District Educational Officers throughout the State and frame a policy of providing the facility in an institution where it is not available as yet. May be the Government shall have to allocate funds for providing these facilities in the institutions where these are not provided as yet.


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