The government has proposed establishing a “first-of-its-kind” university covering the full range of disability studies and rehabilitation sciences in an accessible setting.
In a public notice issued on December 24, the Department for the Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (DEPwD), under the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, has invited interested parties to comment on a bill for the creation of University. In this regard, DEPwD said, a bill, the Disability Studies and Rehabilitation Sciences Bill, 2021 has been prepared to establish the proposed university.
DEPwD said it intends to establish a University of Disability Studies and Rehabilitation Sciences, Kamrup district, Assam through a separate act of Parliament.
“The proposed university, the first of its kind, will be a unique multidisciplinary academic institution conducting research, programs and courses from undergraduate level onward to cater to various disciplines spanning the full range of disability studies and rehabilitation sciences in an accessible environment, “said DEPwD. The proposed university will have eight departments viz. disability studies; rehabilitation sciences; speech and language pathology; special education; psychology; Nursing; orthopedics, prosthetics and assistive technology; and inclusive and universal design. “The programs of the proposed university will adopt a grading and credit system. The proposed university will offer affiliation to other institutions in disability and rehabilitation sciences in the country, ”he said.
The Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities hereby invites public comment on the University of Disabilities and Rehabilitation Sciences Studies Bill, 2021 by January 3, 2021.
However, the prominent disability rights body, National Platform for the Rights of the Disabled, called it another “ill-conceived idea”, denying adequate time or space for stakeholders to respond.
“In this case, only nine days have been given to obtain a response to a 131-page document,” the NPRD said in a statement. “Even more unacceptable is the fact that this university would be ‘self-sustaining’, in tune with the momentum of the New Education Policy 2020. With the finances generated by tuition fees, affiliation fees, etc., the students of the private underserved sections, ”it read.
“Instead of spending huge amounts of money on autonomous and segregated learning centers, it would be good for the government to adhere to the guiding principles of the Law on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities of Equality and Non-Discrimination and adopt and promote an inclusive policy , multidisciplinary approach, ”said the NPRD.