New Delhi: Premier educational institutes in India like the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) and the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) top the list of around 150 institutes in the country who chose to respond to the survey on the status of disabled students studying in top notch universities and institutes in the country.
The survey was conducted by the Delhi-based National Centre for Promotion of Employment for Disabled People (NCPEDP), a non-profit working for the promotion of employment for the disabled people. NCPEDP circulated a questionnaire by post, email and fax to about 250 institutes of which responses from only 150 institutes of national repute were received.
According to the survey, out of the total of 5,21,348 students enrolled in these 150 institutes, only 8,449 were students with disabilities, which is only 0.56% of the total students. Out of these disabled students, 74.08% were male disabled students and 22.70% were female students.
While only 33 out of the selected 50 universities and 14 out of 20 medical colleges responded to the survey, all the sixteen IITs and all the 13 IIMs responded to the survey. In the engineering stream, 13 out of the 20 colleges responded while the response from the law colleges was also far from impressive with only 14 out of the targeted 20 colleges participating in the survey.
The study also underlined that female students with disabilities face double discrimination which is also visible in their percentage enrolment in various streams. The percentage of female disabled students in the universities is 22%, whereas in IITs is 9% and in IIMs is 16%.
The ratio of disabled girls is also low in various other subjects with Business Management (11%), Hotel Management (11%) and Engineering (10%). Streams like design (65%), Journalism (58%) and Arts (45%) have comparatively the higher ratio of female disabled students than the other streams.
Nidhi Goyal, a disability and gender rights activist, highlighting the cause of disabled girls said that the disability movement need to go beyond the rights based discourse. She said that disability is not the real problem but the environment is a problem.
Nidhi lamented that the disability movement has been very much fragmented and called for a need to challenge stereotypes. “Women with disabilities have not come out leading them into a vicious circle. It is tragic that the disabled girls are considered asexual or hypersexual and are not given sex education,” she said.
Javed Abidi, Honorary Director, NCPEDP, said that various kinds of psycho social disabilities are generally referred to as mental illness without giving much thought to the individual challenges. Despite a considerable portion of our population (about 10 per cent) suffering from mental illness, it is a highly stigmatised disease in India.