Meet on software to assess, evaluate differently-abled persons

“The Tamil Nadu government is very sensitive and receptive to the issues of differently-abled people,” said K. Manivasan, State Commissioner for the Differently Abled, at the inauguration of a training programme for special educators here on Tuesday.

“Fund allocation is not a problem for the government. In fact, the state has received an award for its implementation of welfare projects for the disabled,” he added.

The workshop on ‘Punarjjani,’ a software capable of assessing, evaluating and programming a person with mental disabilities, was held at Thiagarajar College of Engineering.

Mr. Manivasan said: “it is important that the technology benefits all persons with mental disability. Technology is something that can bridge the gap between the privileged and the underprivileged. It is something that should benefit everybody.

On a demand to introduce the software in Tamil, he said that based on the outcome of the product in all institutions, the government would take steps to launch it in the vernacular language.

The new product, developed by C-DAC and Media Asia Lab, both run by the Government of India, was first launched in Chennai, where 150 institutions signed up seeking free access to the web-based portal tool.

G.V. Ramaraju, Managing Director and CEO, Media Lab Asia, Government of India, said that any successful technology must be made available in all languages. Teachers and NGO’s should pitch in ideas to develop new technologies.

According to Madurai Association of all Special Schools (MASS), there is a dearth of special educators in India, which has about 50,000 mentally challenged children. In Madurai district, there are only about 250 educators.

R. Ravikumar, a special educator and treasurer of MASS, said that the product would benefit not only the differently-abled but also the teachers who could save time on evaluation and spend more time on teaching.

Participants from 12 districts including Coimbatore and Tirupur took part in the training programme.

Around 65 institutions dealing with mentally challenged children were provided access to the software tool, the organisers said.

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