Tuesday, July 27

Kolkata: Presidency campus ramps up to become disabled-friendly

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Acknowledging the need to provide assistance and services to the disabled, Presidency University has begun efforts to make the campus disabled-friendly, accommodating those with both physical as well as learning disorders.

The university has constituted an internal committee comprising senior faculty members, including the dean of students’ affairs, a student representative and parents. It will address the problems of disabled students, staffers and visitors on the campus. Dean of students Arun Kumar Maiti and the member secretary of the committee confirmed the formation of the committee.

Universities and colleges have to mention the physical and social infrastructure on the campus for disabled students in their self-assessment report to National Assessment and Accreditation Council (Naac). It is an important parameter for rankings by University Grants Commission, Naac and department of human resources.

Presidency already has facilities like elevators, toilets and ramps in every building along with a limited collection of audio resources. But the university authorities want to put in place an infrastructure that provides a barrier-free access to education to the disabled.

A university official, who is also the member of the committee, said the objective was to make the entire campus disabledfriendly. “We are identifying the requirements in terms of academics, sensitizing the faculty and disabled-friendly transportation on the campus,” he said.

The Rights of Persons with Disabilities Bill passed in 2016 had set a two-year deadline to ensure that those with disability get equal access to education, which is barrier-free in infrastructure and transport systems.

At Jadavpur University, all major buildings have provision for ramps, lifts have voice announcements. Staffers are sensitized to the special needs of the disabled. At present, over a hundred disabled individuals are enrolled in the university.

“We have a vehicle for disabled students on the campus. The university has a special education and Higher Education for Person with Special Needs (HEPSN) cell to support disabled students in job-oriented training programmes,” said Rajat Ray, dean of students, JU.

The university’s HEPSN cell has produced a total of 117 CDs and DVDs as ‘talking books’. The university is evaluating options to make all buildings accessible to the disabled.

An official of Calcutta University that secured the fifth rank in India in the National Institutional Ranking Framework by MHRD in 2019 said 80% of its buildings had lifts, ramps and washrooms for the disabled. It also has provisions for wheelchairs and walking aids on the campus.


Source: Times of India

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