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Assistive Technology is must for making inclusive education a reality

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Dr Uma TuliDr Uma Tuli
Founder, Amar Jyoti School

Today, when we talk about technology, we forget about the people with disabilities. We need to consider the ways to develop assistive technology for making inclusive education a reality. We introduce so many things, but if we do not look at their accessibility, the work remains half done. We have to look at education with a holistic approach to make vocational training a part of the curriculum. We need to have structured sports and cultural activities for the differently-abled.

The philosophy of inclusive education rests on the idea of providing equal opportunities to everyone, regardless of the fact that a person is with or without disability. In life skills education, we need appropriate policies that will lead to the development of resources, training, support services, reasonable accommodation, holistic approach and a barrier-free environment. We need involvement of parents, learners, teachers, decision makers and advocates. There should be interactive and fun-filled classrooms. 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, and provision of adequate resources and leverages.

Today, even the CBSE allows assistive devices like talking calculators, computers, talking pens and many others at the time of examination for the differently-abled. Skill development doesn’t end with just leading a life of skills; it is many things put together. This is something we need to understand.

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We need to promote the usage of technology, and 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 the differently-abled in the stream.

The media should highlight the potential of a person with disabilities and create 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 life around. That is what education is all about.

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