Umang Foundation has urged the Himachal Pradesh government to provide free education to all students with visual and other disabilities at college and university level.
In a letter to the Chief Minister, Ajai Srivastava, Chairman of the Foundation, reminded him that the government had made specific commitments to provide free education to the disabled in its “State Policy for Persons with Disabilities”, which is not being implemented. Meanwhile, the Foundation has taken an initiative to ensure free education of 12 blind students in RKMV and government college Sanjouli, Shimla, with a support of society.
In a press conference held at Press Club Shimla on Friday, Ajai Srivastava said that meritorious girl students from the poor families of far flung areas including Dodra-Kwar, Chirgaon and Chowari (Chamba), will get admission in RKMV. At the same time, 5 blind boys will study in government college, Sanjouli.
It is first time in the history of about 70 years of RKMV that a group of blind girls will study and reside in the college hostel. Since the government has not taken any step to ensure free education to them, Umang Foundation has decided to support them in higher education with the support of the society.
In his letter, Ajai Srivastava apprised the Chief Minister that it was the outcome of his PIL that Portmore school, Shimla, and three other government school in Jogindernagar, Nagrota Bagwan and Nahan have been declared inclusive residential schools where any disabled students can avail free schooling including boarding and lodging. In Portmore school, Shimla, at present 25 girls with blindness and deafness are studying and the Foundation is providing them educational devices, braille books and other necessary items.
He has urged the Chief Minister to declare RKMV and government college Sanjouli, Shimla, as inclusive colleges, initially, on the analogy of Portmore school where blind students along with other disabled students can avail free education including boarding and lodging.
He has also apprised the Chief Minister in its ‘State Policy for Persons with Disabilities – 2011’, the government has made a specific commitment to provide free education to the disabled students in all government institutions including technical and professional institutions. He said, unfortunately, the government has not fulfilled their commitment yet. He said, if this free education facility is ensured to disabled students, it will a great relief to them.