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Updated: August 11, 2012 13:24 IST

They excel beyond disability

Amutha Kannan
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S. Banusundari. Photo: M.Periasamy
S. Banusundari. Photo: M.Periasamy

S. Banusundari stood out among the others, even though she could not stand by herself on her polio-affected legs.

While all those who received graduate and post-graduate degree certificates at the 28 convocation of Bharathiar University here on Friday were rank holders, there was one special achiever among them.

S. Banusundari from Michael Job College of Arts and Science for Women, stood out among the others, even though she could not stand by herself on her polio-affected legs.

She was assisted to the stage by her father on one side and a rank holder on another when she went to receive the degree for M.Com. Information Technology.

As is the tradition with university convocation, only rank holders – undergraduate and post-graduate – from affiliated colleges and university departments, are invited to receive degrees. Banu from Pothiampalayam travelled long and worked hard to make herself eligible to receive her degree at the university convocation by virtue of being a rank holder in her subject.

Affected by polio when she was 10 years old, this first-generation graduate from a poor agricultural family rose above her economic and physical disability to achieve her dream, which was “expected”.

Travelling

Travelling almost 12 kms, having to be dependent on others (friends whom she remembers with gratitude) for her mobility, and various other constraints did not dim her passion for learning.

She aspires to become a teacher after completing her M.Phil. in a city college.

Another achiever

Thirty-two-year old A.S. Mohanagiri, assistant professor in English, Government Arts College, Coimbatore, is another achiever, though not a rank holder.

Visually challenged Giri received his Ph.D. from Governor K. Rosaiah, which he completed after a six-year struggle.

Doctorate in English

He wants to take pride not in the ‘mere’ fact that he has now holds a doctorate in English in spite of his disability, but in the fact that his thesis topic was on enabling those with disability.

Technology

Mr. Giri has, through his thesis, put forth an assistive technology to make English teaching and learning user-friendly for the visually challenged. Titled “Accessible Computer-Assisted-Language-Learning (CALL) application for inclusive English language teaching: Design and Development”, the thesis is about an education software application for ensuring inclusive education possible for the differently-able in higher education institutions.

With the help of his guide S. Nalini, Head, Department of English, Government Arts College, Mr. Giri was able to realise his dream of combining his subject English and his passion in computers in his thesis topic.

Software

Indebted to his friends in school and college who made inclusive education a pleasurable experience for him, Mr. Giri believes that his new education software application will help the visually challenged become more comfortable with computers for their learning.

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