Disabilities, a serious matter

By K.J. Jose

The annual observance of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities on December 3rd, was proclaimed in 1992 by the United Nations General Assembly.The observance of the Day aims to protect and promote an understanding of disability issues, especially the rights and well-being of all the persons with disabilities. The theme for this year is  “Transformative solutions for inclusive development: the role of innovation in fuelling an accessible and equitable world“.

‘Transformative solutions for inclusive development’ is a big idea or a concept. I believe the theme speaks of long term goals and plans for transformation in the lives of persons with disabilities.  It indicates that the plans and programmes for Person With Disabilities should not end with  celebrations on 3rd December, making them feel great, valued and wanted. This feeling of celebration and oneness needs to be visible in day-to-day life. Pursuing towards self transformation and inclusive development need to find a place in all walks of life. Inclusion has become a ‘buzzword’ in all forums and gatherings. The buzzword needs to become an achievable action plan in all the guiding principles.

Central and State Governments speak about compulsory education for all children. But how many schools are equipped with teachers/special educators, TLMs, individualized/child centered  teaching plans and other facilities for an equitable inclusive education?  The attitude of many teachers and people in authority is negative or sympathetic. I always believe Persons with disabilities do not need sympathy, but opportunity. Equitable Opportunity in education, training, job and rehabilitation should be the focal point. It is not that Persons without disabilities play the role of a ‘big brother’, it’s a joint venture in all decisions and policy making. Keep in mind the slogan ‘Nothing About Us, Without Us’. As we observe the day, we shall resolve to build a transformative, accessible and equitable society.

The writer is the Principal of Montfort School, Jonglapara, North Garo Hills

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