Activist SHAMPA SENGUPTA reiterates the right of the disabled to education at a workshop in Guwahati
The right to education is universal and must extend to all children, youth, and adults including people with disabilities.
Shampa Sengupta, an activist who has been striving for the issues related to disability rights delivered a talk addressing this issue on June 22 at Bosco Reach Out, Ulubari, Guwahati. Organised by Foundation for Social Transformation (FST), the talk which began from 4 pm was on the topic “Inclusion in Education: Reality Check”. Shampa isassociated with Sruti Disability Rights Centre and West Bengal’s largest DPO Paschim Banga Rajya Pratibandhi Sammelani, an affiliate of National Platform for the Rights of Disabled.
The talk which was attended by leading educationists and social activists, covered the following pertinent questions, ‘Our laws and Policies talk about Inclusion on disabled within its educational set-ups. But how far have we reached now? At one point we have our Sarva Shiksha Mission, we also have few private schools trying to admit few disabled children, and on the other hand we have schemes like HEPSN by UGC for higher education. Yet we find few disabled people included in education system, not just the students, the staff and teachers of educational institutions are denied their rights on a regular basis. What has gone wrong? And how do we rectify our problems? Is amending the laws the only solution? Duties and responsibilities of inclusion is on all of us.’
Sengupta delivered a presentation that highlighted the appalling situation when it came to Education facilities for children with disabilities. In Assam especially, more than half of school dropouts are disabled. Several real life cases where disabled students were discriminated against were analysed from various perspectives. The participants discussed the urgent problems that needed to be addressed. Armaan Ali of Sishu Sarothi, made a compelling statement about the practical obstacles that a disabled student faced every day.
The organiser Foundation for Social Transformation, is a not-for-profit philanthropic organisation operating across seven states of the region to provide leadership and vocational skill training for the youth, enable access and improve quality of health and education facilities in remote villages, promote good governance, advocate for child rights, protect women from violence, enhance youth participation, raise community awareness about environment and ecology, document traditional knowledge and practices among others.