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With guidelines for students with special needs, UGC eyes more inclusivity in higher education

The Credit Based Courses on Pedagogical Aspects for Teaching Divyangjan at Higher Education Institutions direct varsities to provide requisite support for the specific needs of a student with disability.
Last Updated : 07 September 2023, 13:59 IST

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Disabled students will now be given the option to choose between core, elective, and skill-based courses as per new guidelines brought by the University Grants Commission (UGC).

Students with special needs across a spectrum of disabilities will also have to be provided support in terms of learning through assisted devices and methods as well as mobility.

The Credit Based Courses on Pedagogical Aspects for Teaching Divyangjan at Higher Education Institutions direct varsities to provide requisite support for the specific needs of a student with disability.

As per the guidelines, students with special needs should be taught with various teaching methods, such as visual, auditory, tactile or kinesthetic learning styles and are provided assistive devices to do so.

Providing extra financial support from different agencies, providing opportunities to do work-based learning or apprenticeship, providing career counselling and arrangements of placement, or providing residential training facilities are some of the steps that higher education institutions must take.

The guidelines detail a list of resources to support those suffering from 19 forms of disability that should be provided by higher education institutions.

For instance, for those with physical disability, institutes must provide support in motor, fine-motor, locomotor, and non-locomotor functioning, assistance in mobility, support in using objects (such as turning pages or writing with a pen or typing on a keyboard), and assistance in the use of infrastructure or technology. Acid attack survivors should be given support in speech and communication or hand manipulations or visual acuity.

Those suffering with cerebral palsy should be provided with assistance with mobility, transfers, in using objects, support in self-care and support in speech and communication, the guidelines state. Those suffering from visual disabilities should be given access to information in a variety of ways including braille, audio, enlarged print, digital formats, screen reading software, or other tactile and sensory systems as well as assistance with orientation and mobility, among other support.

The guidelines, a draft of which was released in September last year for the public to send in their inputs within a month, was finalised by the UGC late last month.

An expert committee comprising National Centre for Disability Studies (NCDS) director Sanjay Kant Prasad, V P Sah of the disabilities department of the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, Prof Sara Begum of Jamia Millia Islamia’s Department of Special Education, C S Vanaja of the Bharati Vidyapeeth, and GS Chauhan of the UGC, drafted the rules.

The Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act 2016, the National Policies for Persons with Disabilities 2006, National Higher Education Qualifications Framework 2022, and the National Education Policy 2020 all advocate equal opportunities for disabled students.

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Published 07 September 2023, 13:59 IST

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