The Punjab School Education Board (PSEB) has directed all schools to display boards mentioning the rights of differently abled students under the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016, outside the institutions.
In a letter sent to all schools, Secretary, PSEB, said many schools failed in complying with the Punjab and Haryana High Court orders dated March 8, 2018, according to which all schools in the state were to put display boards to spread awareness among the people about the mandate of the 2016 Act, the rights of the differently abled children and the persons to be contacted in case of any difficulty to these students.
As per the undertaking given in the High Court, there are 697 differently abled students studying in Class X and 447 in Class XII in the state.
With the motive of empowerment of persons with disabilities and telling them about their rights and creating awareness about these, the High Court had asked the Education Department to put such display boards outside the schools, on public transport buses, at hospitals and government offices.
As many schools have not complied with the High Court directions, the PSEB has asked the schools to put up the boards or face music.
According to the Census of India, 2011, disabled persons accounted for 2.21 per cent of India’s population. Of these, 20.3 per cent have a movement-related disability, 18.9 per cent are those with hearing disabilities and 18.8 per cent with vision-related disabilities.
In April this year, the Department of Medical Education and Research (DMER), Punjab, had enhanced the reservation for differently abled candidates from 3 per cent to 5 per cent on seats in medical courses in the state.
Though there are about 50 MBBS seats reserved for physically disabled persons in eight medical colleges in the state, only 11 candidates in this category have applied at Baba Farid University of Health Sciences (BFUHS) for these seats. Counselling for MBBS admission is under way these days.
As always, more than 40 of these MBBS seats reserved for the physically handicapped or disabled persons will remain vacant and these will be merged into general category.
The aim of Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016, is to command respect for inherent dignity and give them individual autonomy, including the freedom to make one’s own choices.