Dr Uma Tuli,
Founder, Amar Jyoti School
Assistive technology is must for making inclusive education a reality
Today when we talk about technology, we are forgetting about people with disability. Our perception should be to consider the ways to develop assistive technology for making inclusive education a reality. We introduce so many things, but when we do not look at its accessibility then the work is half done. We have to look at education with the holistic approach, for making vocational training a part of the curriculum. We should have structured sports and cultural activities for the disabled children.
The philosophy of inclusive education rests on the idea of providing equal opportunities to everyone, regardless of the fact that the person is with or without disability. In life skills education, we need appropriate policies that will lead to development of resources, training, support services, reasonable accommodation, holistic approach and a barrier free environment. We need the involvement of parents, as well as learners, teachers, decision makers and advocates.
We need interactive and fun-filled class rooms. The curriculum has to be flexible enough to reduce academic pressure on students. We have to develop teaching materials with technology assistive devices, linkages between pre schools and primary education, provision of adequate resources and leverages.
Today, even CBSE allows assistive devices like talking calculators, computers, talking pens and many other concessions at the time of examination for the children with disabilities. The skill development doesn’t end with just leading a life of skills; it is many things put together. This is something which we need to understand. We have to promote the usage of technology, training of trainers should be organised on a regular basis. There have to be several concessions and reforms in the examination system. Sensitisation at the university level should be done to include disabled children in the stream.
Media should highlight the potential of Person with Disabilities and create the necessary public awareness. The bottom line is that we should not underestimate the power of touch, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment and the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential of turning a life around. That is what education is all about.