After waiting for almost a year, the University of Pune (UoP) has finally decided to provide physically disabled students with the latest technical devices that will make their lives easier. The UoP’s education department willl be providing devices such as time alarms, speech synthesisers, bells, hearing aid, computer-aided devices and other softwares for students with visual and hearing impairment. For physically challenged students, the department will provide them with wheelchairs, walkers, surgical footwear and toilet chairs.
According to sources in the university, the education department, which is in charge of providing these facilities, was flooded with complaints from disabled students and their parents. They had said that for the past one year, none of the facilities were provided to the handicapped students and the students had to manage everything on their own.
As per directives issued by the state government under the Persons with Disabilities Act, 1995, it is mandatory for universities to provide equipment to physically challenged students on their respective campuses as well as to those studying in colleges affiliated with the universities.
For the current academic year, the university had sanctioned Rs 10 lakh for students falling under the disabled category. “We have dispatched letters to all the 600 colleges affiliated with the university, asking for details of disabled students studying on their campuses and their requirements. As soon as the admission process gets over, we will gather information on them and accordingly provide them with devices and equipment,” Education department in-charge Sanjeev Sonawane said.
Sonawane claimed that despite sending numerous reminders to the principals of the varsity-affiliated colleges and requesting them to provide them with profile and details of students, most of the principals have not responded. “We have noticed that not everyone is interested in using high technology products. We’ll provide it only to those who require it,” Sonawane said.
Once the department receives data on all the disabled students, it will hold a half-day seminar for students to show them how a particular device works and update their existing knowledge on the usage of technology.
So far, the varsity has provided facilities to only 85 students from various faculties. These include visually impaired students for whom the department has set up labs and braille printing machines. The department will also install blind sensors on its campus to help students locate various departments and libraries.