Fall in enrolment of differently-abled students in higher education: survey

File photo of a volunteer assisting a visually-impaired admission seeker to Delhi University.  

“Zero improvement and, in fact, a fall in the number of enrolment” has been reported in this year’s survey, by the National Centre for Promotion of Employment for Disabled People (NCPEDP), on status of disability in higher education.

According to the survey, which was released on Saturday, of 1,52,1438 students, only 8,449 or just 0.56 per cent were differently-abled students. Of these, 74.08 per cent were male students and 22.70 per cent female students. Last year, the percentage of the total number of students with impairment was 0.63 per cent.

In terms of disability-wise break up, 46.67 per cent of students had orthopaedic impairment; 32.13 per cent visual impairment; 5.16 per cent speech or hearing impairment and 16.05 per cent other forms of impairment. It was also revealed that streams with maximum enrolment of students with orthopaedic impairment included medicine (99 per cent); architecture (62 per cent) and business management (56 per cent). And those with least enrolment of students with orthopaedic impairment were hotel management (seven per cent); design (16 per cent) and social work (20 per cent).

The NCPEDP conducted a nation-wide survey on the status of differently-abled students in top-notch institutes of the country. “We had written to some 250 institutions, of which 150 replied. The streams included in the survey are arts, science, commerce, law, engineering, medicine, business management, design, journalism, architecture, social work, hotel management. Institutions that replied included universities, the IITs and IIMs,” noted a NCPEDP release. 

In the case of universities, 55 per cent of the differently-abled enrolled students had orthopaedic impairment. In IITs and IIMs, the number of students with orthopaedic impairment was 67 per cent and 61 per cent respectively. Students with visual impairment constituted 32.13 per cent of the total enrolment of disabled students, while students with speech or hearing impairment constituted 5.16 per cent.

That female students with impairment face double discrimination is also visible in their percentage enrolment across various streams. Design (65 per cent), journalism (58 per cent) and arts (45 per cent) have the highest percentage, while the least are enrolled in business management (11 per cent), hotel management (11 per cent) and engineering (10 per cent). The percentage of female students with impairment in universities is 22 per cent. In IITs it is nine per cent and 16 per cent in IIMs.

PTI adds:

“It is extremely shocking and disheartening that even 20 years after the enactment of the Disability Act 1995, the actual implementation is only 0.5 per cent as against the mandated quota of three per cent, which raises many questions. Why are differently-abled students not able to go to colleges and educational institutions? It is architectural barriers, as in, the institutions are still not disabled-friendly and transportation facilities are not adequate, which create hindrances. We hope that the government will take notice of the survey and look into the matter,” NCPEDP director Javed Abidi.

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Printable version | Sep 24, 2021 2:53:51 AM |

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