There is increase in the enrolment of persons with disability (PwDs) students in higher education, as per the All India Survey on Higher Education, MHRD.
The following schemes/facilities have been launched to enhance the representation of the differently-abled students in Higher Education:-
- Upgradation of existing Polytechnics to integrate the Persons with Disabilities (PwD): The objective of the scheme is to promote education and training of persons with disabilities by integrating them in the mainstream of technical and vocational education and skill development programmes through formal and non-formal programme.
- Higher Education for Persons with Special Needs (HEPSN) – The scheme, implemented by UGC, has the following three components:
- Establishment of Enabling Units for PwDs. Resource Units are established in colleges to facilitate admissions, provide guidance and counseling, to create awareness about the needs of differently abled persons and to assist PwD graduates to get the employment.
- Providing Access to PwDs: Under this component, accessibility are addressed by the college relating to issues as per the stipulations of the Persons with Disability (PwD) Act, 1995.
- Providing Special Equipment to augment Educational Services for PwDs: The colleges are provided one time grant upto Rs.1.5 lakh to procure devices to help PwD students enrolled for Higher Education.
- Teacher preparation in Special Education Scheme (TEPSE): The scheme, implemented by UGC, provides financial assistance to offer B.Ed. and M.Ed. degree course with specialization in one of the disability areas.
- Financial Assistance to Visually Challenges Teachers (FAVCT): The objective of the scheme, implemented by UGC, is to provide facility to help visually challenged permanent teachers to achieve self-dependence by using various aids for teaching, learning and research.
- UGC also provide relaxations to PwDs in the National Eligibility Test.
- Saksham Scholarship Scheme: The Scheme is implemented by All India Council of Technical Education the objective of the scheme is to provide encouragement and support to 1000 differently abled students to pursue technical education in a year, fulfilling the eligibility criteria mentioned in the scheme.
- Reservation in admissions: UGC has issued instructions to all universities and colleges for providing 3% reservation (horizontally) in admissions for PwD students.
- Facilitating PwD students under Centrally Sponsored Scheme for Integrating PwDs in the mainstream of Technical and Vocational Education: The Ministry of HRD has issued instructions to the Heads of all polytechnics covered under the above Scheme that no fee of any kind should be charged from the PwD students. However, the Polytechnics, if required, may charge only examination fee from these students that too when the students get their Scholarship amount.
- The Ministry has also directed all Centrally Funded Educational Institutions/Autonomous organizations/attached offices in Ministry to ensure providing barrier free environment in the buildings, which would include provisions of ramps, rails, lifts, adaption of toilets for wheel users, brail signages and auditory signals, tactile flooring etc. to PwDs, as envisaged in PwD Act.
- Expert Committee constituted to identify the courses according to the categories of disabilities: The HRD Ministry has also constituted an Expert Committee to identify the courses according to the categories of the disabilities as identified for the various technical posts and the recommendations of the committee have been circulated to all the Centrally funded Institutes/Autonomous organization/attached offices for implementation.
This information was given by the Union Human Resource Development Minister, Smt. Smriti Irani in a written reply to the Lok Sabha question