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The college provides opportunities to all its students to excel in different areas of activities such as academics, sports and culture. At the same time, there is an awareness that the college needs to be sensitive to the needs of its differently-abled students as well as to students belonging to communities that have been historically denied various opportunities. In view of this, the college has an Enabling Unit coordinated by Mr. Nishant Kumar Singh, and an Equal Opportunity Unit coordinated by Mr. Vinod Nehra . The Enabling Unit tries to provide an enabling environment to differently-abled students through technological and other supports to enable them to perform to the best of their abilities. The Equal Opportunity Unit attempts to help students to overcome their historical deprivation and to enable them to give their very best on par with other students. Both these units of the college co-ordinate their activities with the Equal Opportunity Cell of the University.Equal Opportunity Cell
The Enabling Unit of SLC organized an interaction with PWD students in the library at 11:30 AM on February 21, 2017. Apart from all the 4 faculty members (undersigned) of Enabling Unit, 11 PWD students participated in the interaction. The students were informed about the existing facilities for them in the College including the new PWD Room recently inaugurated in the library, equipped with computers with screen readers for visually impaired students. The students were informed that new computers had been ordered by SLC for installation in PWD Room. They were also informed that they could use the flat bed scanner purchased for scanning of books and OCR software for converting images to text. The students were encouraged to participate in all SLC activities, and were pledged all support from SLC in this regard. Information was provided that all notices relevant to PWD students in particular would be displayed in the PWD Room. The members of Enabling Unit provided their contact details to students, to enable them to get in touch as and when they desired. A WhatsApp Group of PWD students and members of Enabling Unit was created for more effective communication in the group.
The students were encouraged to voice their expectations and concerns with regard to the facilities provided for them in SLC. The students expressed their views frankly. The visually impaired students pointed out that computer classes be organized for them to enable them to use the computers independently, as had been done in the College on an earlier occasion. The OH students pointed out that their classes be organized on ground floor in the first place, rather than they having to request for shifting of their classes to ground floor after the time table had been made. Some of the students pointed to certain facilities that existed for PWD students in some of the other colleges of Delhi University, but not in SLC. They were assured that SLC would do its best to meet their expectations, and that they needed to regularly interact with Enabling Unit.
Assurance was given by the Enabling Unit to students that their special placement needs will be addressed by SLC to the extent possible. Students were encouraged to participate in a seminar being organized by Placement Cell on February 28, 2017 on the topic Writing of CV and excelling in GD/Personal Interviews, in which their concerns would be specially addressed.
One of the students, Jai Shankar, who is visually impaired and has been provided Angel Pro device by the College on a returnable basis, informed that he had lost the device, and wanted to know if he had to pay compensation to College. The Enabling Unit considered this matter after the interaction was over, and decided that he be asked to pay some compensation as this would make other students to take better care of their devices.
The College has been very much aware to the needs of its Differently Abled Students and has been sparing no efforts to make education and all College facilities fully accessible to them. This sensitivity and concern for accessibility extends to differently abled faculty and other employees and has existed long before Equal Opportunities Cell of University of Delhi started drawing attention of Colleges to such issues.
The College makes every effort to provide barrier free mobility to all PWD students everywhere in the College. Ramps and signages on passages have been provided. Where 100% barrier free mobility cannot be assured, classes for PWD students are conducted on ground floor to cause minimum inconvenience to them. In the very near future College plans to build elevators to enable students with limited ability to have access to every part of the College.
As early as 2008-09 session, SLC installed "Screen Reading Softwares" on all the 20 desktop computers in its Computer Lab II (that was set up in that year). This enabled visually impaired students as well as teachers to work independently on any of the computers in the new lab. This made SLC the first college in DU to make its entire computer lab accessible for visually impaired students. Since then, visually impaired students can work on computers along with the rest of the class, instead of working in isolation.
At the start of each session, the College organizes a meeting with the PWD students wherein the students are assured of all the required support from the College in enabling them to carry on all activities in and outside the class just like other students. In such meetings some of the faculty, specially those who are themselves differently abled talk to the students to reassure them in all respects. During the session workshops are conducted with them to provide them information about the existing facilities, and enabling them to use these effectively.
During 2012-13, the College purchased Angel Pro device (14 pieces, each costing about. 9000/-) and provided these for use by visually impaired students during their stay in College. This device helps students to play recorded lectures in MP3 and DAISY formats, to listen to E-text in doc, txt and htm format, and actually record 4 hours of lecture at a time, thus reducing their dependence on others for their studies. All the same, College, through its NSS wing arranges for readers for visually impaired students.
Subsequently, Equal Opportunity Cell of DU provided notebook computers for all the PWD students of the College, on its part SLC conducted a 3 month training program for students to effectively use these notebooks with the help of special softwares such as "Screen Reading Software", Optical Character Recognition "(OCR) Software, "Low Vision Reading" software and independent internet browsing software. These softwares were either pre-installed on the notebooks, or were provided to them free of cost. Currently the College has to collect the note books from its outgoing students and make them available to newly admitted students. The College hopes that EOC, Delhi University will assure that all newly admitted students will be provided note books. On its part, SLC plans to cover the gap on its own.
In the past, one of the PWD students of the College has been selected by DU to participate along with other selected students in Academic Excellence Program in United Kingdom. This group of students was sent to UK for about 2 weeks where they mingled with PWD students of that country and were made aware of recent technological developments that could enable them to lead an almost normal and barrier free life. This student acknowledged the role of SLC in getting him selected in the program and after the conclusion of the program shared his experiences with other students of the College.
The College gets the PWD students in touch with EOC so that they can use all the support and facilities provided by the latter. These facilities include recording of text books, using the E-text resources of EOC, etc.
During 2012, the College for the first time set up a PWD Room with necessary facilities for students. After the recent renovation, the College plans a much more ideally located PWD room. A dedicated space has been allocated for such a facility, and there are plans to equip this facility with all the available modern gadgets and technological supports (including desktops with head phones and required softwares).
The College has installed a special flat bed scanner on a dedicated desk top computer to enable visually impaired students to scan books (including large books). Further English and Indian language OCR softwares were purchased and installed on this computer to convert scanned pages into readable text.
Following the renovation, the College is in the process of putting up braille signages outside all the classrooms, office, labs, staff room and the like.
SLC encourages its faculty and students to participate in conferences, workshops, etc. to make them aware of all the progress taking place around the world to provide accessibility solutions for the differently abled. A notable example is Techshare, a biennial conference organized by BarrierBreak Technologies, an organization involved in developing and providing such solutions for differently abled. Some of the faculty have been regularly attending this Conference for getting updated on accessibility solutions.
The College strongly believes that all students including the differently abled deserve to lead a dignified and independent life, and no constraint should be allowed to come in its way. Above all, the College has sensitized the faculty and support staff to the special needs of the differently abled to enable them to have access to all facilities in the institution, and, at the same time, to participate in all events and activities while being a part of the mainstream of the College.
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