By ANINDITA DAS
A capacity building seminar for professionals working in the field of disability on 5, 6 and 7 February, 2015 was held in Guwahati. It was conducted by the Rehabilitation Council of India (RCI) in association with Shishu Sarothi, Centre for Rehabilitation and Training for Multiple Disability, Guwahati and Composite Regional Centre for persons with Disabilities, Guwahati.
The three-day long programme had an array of discussion on the disability rate of the region, the limitations of training institutions and lack of awareness about disability among government officials of various departments and NGOs in the North-East region. The discussions also directed towards the fact that the inclusion of the children with disabilities in regular schools in Northeast is also very insignificant. It has also been focused during the discussions that the special education provided in the region is not up to the mark. Lots need to be done in terms of professional development in the educational system for the disables.
The inaugural session was attended by R C Jain, Mission Director and Secretary, Education, Government of Assam, Sudesh Mukhopadhyay, Chairperson RCI, D N Sreenivasappa, Member Secretary RCI, Arman Ali, Executive Director, Shishu Sarothi and L T Ricky, Chairperson ZCC, were also present. The participants from all over Northeast, representing Universities and NGOs expressed their concern over the dearth of manpower in the field of Special Education and Disability Rehabilitation. It is highly imperative to make provisions for upgrading the system concerning the issue so that better scopes are created for the persons with disabilities. The interaction between the resource persons and the participants threw light on many topics ranging from the role of premier institutions of higher education in the Northeast to schemes of the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities.
Tarun Gogoi, chief minister of Assam in the valedictory session laid stress on bringing the persons with disabilities to the mainstream, protecting their rights and privileges. It is also the responsibility of everyone in the society to respect their rights, he further remarked. The Government require coming up with more schemes to be implemented for inclusive growth. Ali mentioned in his recommendations that Assam has a disabled population of 70 percent of the overall Northeast region.
Moreover, the state has to pay heed to the matter by taking measures in terms of incorporating courses on disabilities in colleges and universities. It thus can be expected that all the issues addressed in the seminar turn effective to create an environment conducive to the persons with disabilities.