Education > Schemes > University Grants Commission
Education for All
N.C.P.E.D.P.'s efforts to promote education for people with disabilities were given a boost when the U.G.C. recognised disability, and initiated two new education schemes in 1998.
This was recognised by the University Grants Commission (U.G.C.) in its policy paper on higher education in the Ninth Five Year Plan. This recognition was part of a sea change brought about when Professor Armaity S. Desai took over as Chairperson. Not only was the U.G.C. building made disabled friendly, two landmark schemes were outlined for introduction in various Universities and Colleges – T.E.P.S.E., or Teacher Preparation in Special Education, and H.E.P.S.N., Higher Education for Persons with Special Needs. These schemes were developed with the assistance of a four-member subcommittee, of which Shri Javed Abidi, Executive Director, N.C.P.E.D.P., was a member.
T.E.P.S.E. arose out of the recognition that coverage of children with disabilities in the formal school system was less than five per cent. To make up for this huge discrepancy, over 100,000 specially trained teachers were required over a period of ten years, to cater to the educational needs of disabled children in schools. To make this practicable, it was felt that B.Ed and M.Ed courses needed to be introduced in Universities and Colleges. With T.E.P.S.E., the U.G.C. supports selected university departments and colleges of education, which offer special education. The Ninth Plan allocated a budget of Rupees 5.94 crore for the plan period. In an extremely positive step, the guidelines state that the eligible Colleges should have attached Model Schools where disabled children are admitted.
However, by January 2000, the U.G.C. had approved funding for the T.E.P.S.E. programme in only five universities and colleges out of the 145 approached.
H.E.P.S.N. fared marginally better with eight Universities and Colleges being approved for funding in the same time frame. H.E.P.S.N. is an extremely comprehensive scheme to promote the cause of the disabled in higher education. It has essentially three components:
Though both H.E.P.S.N. and T.E.P.S.E. are extremely enlightened ideas, their implementation leaves much to be desired. N.C.P.E.D.P.'s struggle for equal opportunities in education is far from over.