A new survey reveals that there are only 8,449 disabled students, or 0.56 percent, studying in the country's 150 top universities and colleges that have a total strength of 15,21,438.
Conducted by National Centre for Promotion of Employment for Disabled People (NCPEDP), the nationwide survey of status of disabled students in top Indian colleges, institutes and universities, revealed that of these differently-abled students, 74.08 percent were male and 22.07 percent were female students. The national survey 'Status of Disability in Higher Education' was released as part of the 3rd National Convention for Youth with Disabilities.
However, while over 200 institutions were written to, only 150 responded, which included all the 16 Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) and 13 Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs). The colleges were identified on the basis of streams and courses on which the survey was to be conducted.
Last year, the total number of students with disabilities was 0.63 percent. "It is a big reason to worry that so many years after the law, only 0.56 percent students are disabled," Javed Abidi, director, NCPEDP, said.
Abidi pointed out a significant number of institutes that did not respond was that of private institutions, which he said were the "biggest culprits". He said that the first step which needs to be taken is that of "accessibility. It is about removing both architectural and technological barriers," he said.
Visually impaired Kaustubh Tapal said that it was extremely important to change people's mindset. "People do not know how to act and react... awareness is the most important thing," said the 21-year-old Mumbai-based student.