Volume 4 Issue 12 - June 15, 2006

Drastic drop in number of disabled students; D.U. to blame?

D.N.I.S. News Network - As the first phase of the admission process in Delhi University (D.U.) came to a close, initial analysis revealed a drastic drop in the number of disabled applicants, over the last few years. The analysis shows that from 420 aspirants in 2003, the figure has dropped to a mere 280 in 2006.

Even after ten years of the passage of the Disability Act, and a lot of awareness in society, D.U. seems to be unaware of the needs of disabled students aspiring to do higher studies, or is conveniently ignoring them. The lack of help desk, absence of directions to the application centre, very high and inaccessible counters and other physical barriers all over the campus, are only a few of the problems faced by the disabled candidates while looking for admission to various courses in the university.

For most disabled applicants looking for admission under the 3 per cent quota, a major problem was reaching the office of Dean of Studentsí Welfare itself. Aspirants also questioned the policy of putting them through a disability re-check procedure. For the students who already have the certificates, the re-check is tantamount to doubting the credibility of the certifying doctor. One of the leading newspapers had quoted the Dean of Studentsí Welfare, ďThere arenít many students in this category, and we will certainly look into the question of another centre in the south campus if the need arises.Ē If the report is to be believed, then the Deanís words speak volumes for the lack of knowledge as well as sensitivity on the part of the concerned official and the authorities of D.U.

What is more distressing is the fact that D.U. and all other universities are continuing with their apathetic attitude despite the Delhi High Court seeking detailed reports from D.U. and Government of India on steps that have been taken to make its structures accessible, in 2005 itself. The Order was passed by the H.C. while hearing the P.I.L. filed by Disabled Rights Group (D.R.G.) against D.U. to make its colleges disabled-friendly. Moreover, in one of the hearings the Court had also expressed serious displeasure over the affidavit filed by D.U. and had instructed the University Administration to file a fresh affidavit.

In a surprising move, the Court had further issued notices to Jamia Millia Islamia and Guru Govind Singh Indraprastha Universities seeking a report on what had been done by them to make educational structures accessible to students with disabilities.

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