Volume 2 Issue 18 - September 15, 2004

Shocking statistics unveiled regarding 'Education scenario vis-à-vis disabled people'

DNIS News Network - National Centre for Promotion of Employment for Disabled People (NCPEDP) unveiled shocking statistics on 'Education Scenario vis--vis Students with disabilities' at a press conference in Delhi on September 14.

A comprehensive questionnaire was sent to all 331 universities in India and representative sample of 294 colleges and 318 schools, representing all the states/union territories. Of these a total of 119 universities, 100 colleges and 89 schools responded. Their answers showed up some stark realities regarding the huge gap between the literacy rate of disabled and non-disabled persons.

The 119 respondent universities had just 1,635 disabled students registered. This figure is alarmingly low when compared to the University Grants Commission (UGC) standard of 3.6 lakhs disabled students for 119 varsities, which is only 6 per cent of the entire population of disabled people. Only the Banaras Hindu University and the Aligarh Muslim University had disabled students in double digits, with 202 and 280 respectively. While JNU ranked sixth in terms of the number of disabled enrolled, Delhi University failed to even reply.

Among the respondent colleges, a mere 0.52 per cent of the students' population consisted of people with disabilities, far lower than the 3 per cent mandated by law. In fact as many as 32 respondent colleges admitted to not even knowing about the 1995 Disability Act. Some also said they lacked both trained staff and required infrastructure.

In the school level survey a sample of 10 schools from each state and five from Union Territories was taken. Of the 89 schools that responded, 34 did not have a single disabled student and 18 even admitted to having a policy against admitting any children with disabilities. Springdales School and Vasant Valley, both from New Delhi, were surprisingly the only schools to have more than the mandated 3 per cent disabled students.

Javed Abidi, executive director, NCPEDP, stressed that the best way to deal with this problem was to make the government more accountable. Currently the Ministry for Social Welfare and Justice handles policy matters regarding the education of disabled students. However, Abidi pointed out that education is not a matter of charity and the Ministry of Human Resource Development should therefore deal with the matter.

He said: "The National Literacy Rate according to Census 2001 is 65 per cent. However, the literacy rate of disabled people is only 2 per cent in our country! When the Government talks of 'Education for All', does it only refer to India's non-disabled population?"

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