Institutes for disabled fail
to attract students
Reforms panel tenure ends without any meeting
Institutes for disabled fail
to attract students
Various vocational institutions being run by the Punjab Government for rehabilitation and for inculcating a sense of self-reliance among disabled students have failed to attract them.
According to official sources, this is mainly on account of lack of any awareness drive by the authorities concerned.
A large number of disabled persons in Punjab are blind, numbering 55,110 as per a survey, but only one institute for the blind was set up in Ludhiana during 1998-2003.
Surprisingly, the institute, despite the fact that it was the only one of its kind in the state, did not run to full capacity. It had a limited capacity of taking on its rolls 65 persons against which 49 to 59 persons remained on its rolls during the period.
The institute spent Rs 98 lakh on maintenance while a sum of Rs 16 lakh was spent on the inmates during the past five years. This works out to Rs 5,800 per capita per year, taking into account the mean enrollment of 55 students.
The number of mentally challenged persons in Punjab is estimated at 23,543. There is only one government institute for them at Kapurthala.
The picture here, according to the sources, is even more grim.
The Kapurthala institute has a capacity for enrolling merely 50 inmates against which only 12 to 18 remained on the rolls during 1998-2003. The institute spent Rs 61 lakh on maintenance in the past five years and spent barely Rs 7 lakh during the period on activities directly contributing to the alleviation of the children. This works out to be Rs 9,000 per capita per annum, taking the mean enrollment of 15 persons.
Rehabilitation measures undertaken by the state are poor, ineffective and wholly unsubstantial. This has become evident from an examination of the working of two main institutes in the state, entrusted with the responsibility of providing rehabilitation measures.
A government workshop for the welfare of the disabled established at Ludhiana in 1979 had barely 10 to 12 candidates on its rolls during 1998-2003 against its capacity of 50 candidates.
The department attributed poor enrollment to lack of publicity, non-availability of hostel accommodation and most interestingly, training in trades and skills which are no longer viable for a vocation.
The trades in which the institute provided training are hosiery and weaving. These were identified in 1979 as viable occupations in Ludhiana, considering pre-ponderance of the occupation in the area. With increasing sophistication in trades, the impact of rudimentary manual training in the training institute requires a review which has not been carried out.
Despite the fact that the state government recognised the trades as "non-viable", no action has been taken to either upgrade the technology in the institution or introduce viable trades in the curriculum.
The other institute vocational Rehabilitation Centre for Handicapped Women — established in 1994 is virtually a non - starter. During 1998-2003, barely four to 12 students were on the rolls for tailoring and stenography. No post for instructor for stenography was sanctioned.
Thus, in terms of institutional framework, the government provides very little either for the alleviation of the condition of the disabled or their rehabilitation.
The four institutions taken together have barely 100 disabled persons receiving any form of rehabilitation benefits in institutional terms for the rest more than one lakh there is hardly any institutional programme.
Reforms panel tenure ends without any meeting
The Punjab Government’s claim to provide the best and latest in education to the young generation seems to sound hollow. A special committee formed to suggest the much-needed education reforms ended its tenure in August without holding a single meeting. The only step the Congress government in the state could take was to reconstitute the committee, adding six more members to the earlier 10.
The committee was constituted and re-constituted to evaluate the recommendation of a previous commission on education reforms way back in 1982.
The 1982 commission formed under Dr R.N. Dogra completed its job in 18 months. At least Rs 2 crore were spent on the job. The Dogra report has not even been published, let alone being discussed at any level.
It is anybody’s guess how many changes have occurred in the filed of education after 1982. While students remain a confused lot over the present methods of teaching and syllabi, which offers them a limited scope in selecting a vocation, the powers that be continue to dither over the issue.
Sources within the new committee say that despite the best intentions of the members, all noted academicians, the committee could not hold a single meeting as the government did not provide them any office, infrastructure or staff for the purpose.
The members reminded the government several times verbally as well as through letters but all fell on deaf ears.
Committee members said bureaucracy did not help matters, ignoring the issue at the state’s peril.
The Chief Minister had directed a senior bureaucrat to provide whatever required by the panel members. A government official met Prof R.P. Bambah, committee Chairman, and took the necessary details, but nothing was done. A committee member, Mr T.R. Sharma, an acclaimed academician from Patiala, also wrote to the government reminding it about the urgency of reforming the education process, but his efforts did not bear fruit.
The tenure of the
committee lapsed without a single meeting. The government then
reconstituted the committee and added six more
A government official, preferring anonymity, said the previous committee could not meet as no member-secretary was appointed to call the meetings and make arrangements for recording the minutes.
The committee was reconstituted via a notification on August 23, but no meeting has been called yet. Members fear that its three-month tenure may again elapse without any work done.
Among the committee members are Prof
R.P. Bambah, Dr R.K. Kohli, Prof Sucha Singh Gill, Prof Gursevak
Singh, Dr J.R. Gupta Gill, Ms Manjit Kaur Sodia, Mr K.S. Aarya,
Principal, Mr R.S. Patial, Prof (retd) T.R. Sharma, Ms Lata
Vaidyanathan, and Mr R. Sharma.
Institute of Rural Management (IRMA), Anand-388001 (Guj) www.irma.ac.in
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