Chandigarh, March 7, 2019: Taking Chandigarh towards a disable friendly Chandigarh, a seminar on “Gen Next Disability Inclusion”, was organized today at Rajiv Gandhi Bhawan, Panjab University, Chandigarh. This was jointly organized by Department of Community Education & Disability Studies, Panjab University, State Legal Services Authority-SLSA, U.T., Chandigarh, ARUSHI-Bhopal, Chandigarh Commission for Protection of Child Rights-CCPCR & Yuvsatta (youth for peace)-an NGO.
Prominent participants included Justice A. B. Chaudhari of Punjab & Haryana High Court, Prof. Raj Kumar, Vice- Chancellor, Panjab University, Chandigarh, Mr. Mahavir Singh, Member Secretary, State Legal Services Authority-SLSA, Mr. Amrinder Sharma, Secretary, SLSA, Bibi Harjinder Kaur, Chairperson, Chandigarh Commission for Protection of Child Rights- CCPCR, Dr. B. S. Chavan, Director Principal, Govt. Medical College & Hospital, Sector 32, Dr. Monica Munjal, Chairperson, Centre for Social Work, Panjab University , Dr. Dazy Zarabi, Chairperson, Department of Community Education & Disability Studies, Panjab University & Pramod Sharma, Founder-coordinator, Yuvsatta (youth for peace).
In his welcome address Prof. Raj Kumar emphasized on phase-wise development of the university campus to make it accessible and disabled friendly. He also emphasized on optimum utilization of available resources and participation of all.
In his address the Chief guest Justice A. B. Chaudhari said that barriers to increase participation of disable people need to be identified and removed, possibly requiring changes to laws, policies, institutions, and environments. There is also an urgent need to invest in specific programmes and services for people with disabilities. Adopting a national disability strategy and plan of action is another need of the hour. In which the concerned agencies should involve people with disabilities, Improve human resource capacity and most importantly sensitization programmes are required to increase disability related awareness among people working in sectors like education, health care, law enforcement and the media are particularly important for ensuring non-discrimination and participation.
Chairing a session on Disable Friendly Chandigarh Mr. Mahavir Singh shared that there is not a single disable friendly ATM, public park or market, so we have long way to go even in modern cities like Chandigarh.
Prominent amongst those who participated and addressed in this interactive dialogue included Dr. V. Mohan Kumar, Mr. Anil Mudgal, founder of ARUSHI, Dr. Rohit Trivedi form ARUSHI, professors from various Departments of Panjab University, special educators and research scholars.
In his concluding address Mr. Pramod Sharma, founder and coordinator of Yuvsatta said that we’ve been talking about diversity and inclusion for a long time, yet now I’m seeing a shift to a broader definition that welcomes people with disabilities, among others. Still there are ample evidence of Stigma and discrimination against differently able persons combined with a lack of data — making them hard to reach — compounds the problem.
Dr. Dazy Zarabi added that for children with disabilities, this does not just mean enrolment into a mainstream school. All facets of the education system must be addressed so that it can equally respond to the diverse needs of all its learners. There is no “one-size-fits-all” answer. Every School and city needs to formulate its own set of solutions that reach down to the level of individual schools.
The Seminar ended with concluding resolutions that acknowledge inclusive education is a human right, encourage a system-wide approach, promote meaningful data collection to reach the invisible, remember that implementation is what really counts, think of inclusive education not as a challenge, but as an opportunity.
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