‘All eyes on colleges for blind, why turn a deaf ear to hearing impaired?’https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/pune/all-eyes-on-colleges-for-blind-why-turn-a-deaf-ear-to-hearing-impaired/

‘All eyes on colleges for blind, why turn a deaf ear to hearing impaired?’

For many years, the hearing-impaired too have been demanding for a separate college.

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Savitribai Phule Pune University (SSPU) becomes the first to open up to the needs of the visually- impaired

Even as Savitribai Phule Pune University (SSPU) becomes the first to open up to the needs of the visually- impaired — with three new colleges lined up for them in Pune, Nashik and Ahmednagar this year— activists claim that institutes have turned a deaf ear towards those with hearing disabilities. For many years, the hearing-impaired

Even as Savitribai Phule Pune University (SSPU) becomes the first to open up to the needs of the visually- impaired — with three new colleges lined up for them in Pune, Nashik and Ahmednagar this year— activists claim that institutes have turned a deaf ear towards those with hearing disabilities. For many years, the hearing-impaired too have been demanding for a separate college.

In December last year, the University of Pune (UoP) had called for proposals for separate colleges for people with special needs. Out of the 52 proposals cleared and forwarded to the state government for further approval, they could not accommodate the proposal that came from an activist, Vasudeo Bhanudas Patole, who has been working for the hearing-impaired for the last 23 years.

Every year, the UoP publishes its plan for their academic year inviting proposals for starting new colleges and currently, there are 760 colleges and educational institutions affiliated to the UoP.

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“I have given a separate letter as there was no category for the hearing impaired even as the University have opened up towards the visually-impaired. It is injustice towards these students, as even as we talk of integration, these students cannot continue higher education without special aids. This is what led me to put up the request with the University and the state government,’’said Patole, who is currently director of the CR Ranganathan college for the hearing impaired.

In March last year, Patole procured the data of hearing impaired students, who clear Class X and Class XII, and he found that there is a 50 per cent drop rate. Patole observed that it further reduces when it comes to higher education. Students, who have been interacting with Patole, said that they cannot be integrated in mainstream colleges for graduation as there is a huge number of students, and as they cannot hear or speak, it becomes very difficult for them to cope with studies.

“There are specialised colleges for the hearing-impaired in other parts of the country that caters to the needs of such students and when the SSPU has shown willingness to open up to visually-impaired students, they should do so to hearing and speech-impaired students too,’’ said Patole. His letter to the vice-chancellor WN Gade was received well, but with the government norms, he said, they could not bring about any changes in the proposal.

“This year, for the first time, we have special colleges that will come up in Pune rural region, Nashik and Nagar that will specially cater to the visually-impaired as that was a long-standing demand. We will discuss the proposal of the hearing-impaired college with the government and perhaps, next year we can consider it,’’ he said.

Explaining the norms, Director Board of College and University Development (BCUD) Dr VB Gaikwad explained that University prepares a plan that is submitted to the government and after approval, one cannot make any changes. “The chief minister is the chairman of the State Council for Higher Education and once the meeting approves the proposals, we cannot change it. This year, for the first time, we got the plan approved for the blind students. The proposals were to come between December 1 and 31, and this was finalised after a discussion with the state government and then, approved,’’said Gaikwad. He, however, said the proposal for the hearing-impaired can be considered for the coming year after discussion with the government.