According to TRRAIN HSBC Disability Employment Report 2019, about half (46%) of the persons with disabilities in India are uneducated. Lack of the right schools, accessibility, unavailability of special instructors, and above all, the unwillingness of parents to invest in their child with a disability are the key hurdles.
Ajay Gupta, Co-Founder, Rishihood University in conversation Financial Express Online talked about issues that people with disability face and his ideas for providing high-quality education to them
According to TRRAIN HSBC Disability Employment Report 2019, about half (46%) of the persons with disabilities in India are uneducated. Lack of the right schools, accessibility, unavailability of special instructors, and above all, the unwillingness of parents to invest in their child with a disability are the key hurdles. Rishihood University has come up with a one-year Postgraduate Degree and Fellowship programme at its soon-to-be-launched Center for Disability Management. Ajay Gupta, Co-Founder, Rishihood University in conversation Financial Express Online talked about issues that people with disability face and his ideas for providing high-quality education to them. Excerpt
What are the key reasons for introducing such a course on Disability Management?
There is a very limited number of training programs available in the disability management sector, especially for a big country like India. The PGD program in Disability Management will provide an opportunity for bright and promising youth from diverse professional and academic backgrounds to get exposed to guided trails and unguided ventures of the disability sector and cultivate knowledge, skills, and the mindset to ensure elimination of inequity for persons with disability.
This will also promote inclusion and mainstreaming of the 15-20% population of persons with disabilities in India (an approx. 8% youth with disability). These big numbers of people are living on the verge of exclusion and still are the biggest ‘invisible minority’. The course on Disability Management will help include them in real sense and inculcate ‘inclusion’ as promised in the Indian national law- the Rights of Persons with Disability Act 2016 and the Sustainable Development Goals to achieve the Disability Inclusive Agenda 2030.
Please share a few details about the course, like features, eligibility, duration, fees etc.
This is a full-time 1 year program and requires the fellows to stay near the project sites in urban, semi-urban, and rural settings as required. The program involves a mix of induction, training, field projects, visits to institutes and cross-learning workshops spread across the fellowship period.
The candidate must be Graduate in any field of study with a passion to pursue this course. The course is provided on a full scholarship from the university to all selected candidates in the course. The university strives to bring more people and funds to fuel the difference this course can make.
What is the Centre for the Specially-Able?
The Centre for the Specially-Able is an initiative by Rishihood University that aims to provide an opportunity for the bright and promising youth from diverse professional and academic backgrounds to get exposed to disability sector and cultivate in hem the knowledge and skills to help eliminate inequity for persons with disability.
This Centre aims at empowering persons with disabilities. Specialisation on the subject has many career opportunities, which remain untapped. Hence, for the social and development sector, civil society organization, international non-government organizations, government organizations and national non-government organizations there will be mass availability of skilled and knowledgeable people with disabilities. Also, the Government of India mandates ‘leave no one behind’ as per their obligations by signing and ratifying the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Hence, this Centre and course on Disability Management is the first step to support the marginalized persons with disabilities and support the government to achieve its mission of ‘skill India’.
How an initiative like this will help specially-able people in India?
The full-time fellow program is aimed to develop well-rounded individuals instilled with passion and commitment to ensure mainstreaming and empowerment of Persons with Disability under the guidance of policymakers, thought leaders and grassroots level implementers.
By innovating for people with disabilities, we are innovating for us all. By ensuring that this center fulfils its promise to address the broadest societal needs, we can empower everyone – not just individuals with disabilities – to achieve more. And this is just the beginning. We cannot wait to see how people with disabilities are empowered to be self advocators to uphold their rights and entitlements; skilled to live a quality life and ultimately become a productive citizen of the society.
What are the future plans for such courses?
In the future, we see this as a method to provide self-sustenance to people with disabilities and nurture a community of professionally trained graduates who can work for the evolving challenges of the people with disabilities. Such trained graduates can also take up global careers in healthcare, hospitality, sports, and the non-profit sector.
The opportunities are endless and so is the community of people with disabilities who are waiting to be included and mainstreamed. And, what is more dynamic than being educated and empowered, to be at the giving end and no more on receiving end, to be respected and welcomed on basis of competency than being recruited in quota (6% reservation of the Government of India). We as an educational institution are super excited and proud to be at the forefront of this endeavour and do the very best, we can in supporting the cause.
Our vision was to have a center like this that has given us the courage and impetus to stand up for the rights of people with disabilities with grit and wisdom; not with the charity and pity approach that many do. We don’t want to give them a ‘fish’, but impart skill to them so that they learn to catch the fish on their own. It is better to teach people how to do something themselves than to just do it for them. This expression is just part of the full proverb, ‘if you give a man a fish, he eats for a day; if you teach a man to fish, he eats for a lifetime’. Hence, the Centre focuses on the idea that long-term benefits are more useful.