AICTE-approved institutions asked to establish EQFCs
Nearly 250 educational institutions affiliated to the All-India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) in Telangana have to establish 'Equal Opportunity Facilitation Cells' (EQFC), as part of the inclusive education policy norms.
Hyderabad: Nearly 250 educational institutions affiliated to the All-India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) in Telangana have to establish 'Equal Opportunity Facilitation Cells' (EQFC), as part of the inclusive education policy norms.
-While a recent circular of the AICTE has issued guidelines to the technical education institutions to take steps for facilitating friendly campuses for Persons with Disabilities (PwDs), citing the promotion of inclusive education as part of the National Education Policy (NEP)-2020.
While the State government is yet to take a call on the implementation of NEP-2020, the existing laws and norms cast a responsibility upon the educational institutions to provide facilities to cater to students with disabilities. which, several institutions are currently lacking. The norms related to PwDs do not constitute part of the affiliation provisions of the Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University, Hyderabad (JNTU-H), Osmania University (OU), and other State universities.
Adding to the current situation, the latest AICTE guidelines specify the new steps to be taken to cater to students with both visible and invisible disabilities.
As part of making the Indian Education System inclusive for all, the AICTE pointed out that the policy touches several grounds to address issues surrounding the identification and engagement of students with disabilities, along with the creation of an enabling ecosystem.
As per the new guidelines, every AICTE-approved institution shall have an EQFC; a senior faculty is to be designated as its nodal officer and coordinator. The other members include each category of "male/female teaching, non-teaching staff, as well as students, and representatives of an NGO working in the area of empowerment of PWDs.
The registrar and administrative officer will act as the member-secretary of EQFC," the AICTE said.
The main objectives of the cell include promoting admissions of PwDs in technical institutions, creating awareness among stakeholders in the area of equal opportunities on a regular basis, address the special needs of students in the teaching-learning process.
Also, to provide special assistance in training and placement of students with disabilities and providing free laptops and internet charges to PwDs through the Institute/State government; besides, establishing a teacher-mentor scheme for PwDs right from the entry to exit from the institute.
The guidelines also stress developing disabled-friendly teaching-learning processes making use of modern tools and assistive technologies, and infrastructure facilities for access to persons with physical disabilities. They include, facilities for access to persons with hearing and visual impairment, special provisions for PwDs in examinations and Disability Support Systems (DSS), and additional support linkages for students with specific learning disabilities should be part of the campuses.