Education December 4, 2020
IDIA-EnAble India to host accessibility training programme for visually impaired law students
The IDIA Disability Access Programme (I-DAP) and Enable India Foundation will host specialised training programmes for law students with visual impairment enrolled in universities and pursuing higher education in the legal field.
Skills of researching, formatting, working in collaboration with people, etc. are critical for any student to excel in an academic setting.
Typically, law students receive formal/informal training in these skills from company executives or college seniors. Blind students usually get left out because of lack of inclusion in such training sessions. Inaccessibility of various platforms is another major challenge.
Recognising this, IDIA Disability Access Programme (I-DAP) and Enable India Foundation have announced a training programme for visually impaired law students across India.
The pilot session will tentatively start in the third week of December and will be conducted in an online audio mode. The programme is in keeping with I-DAP’s policy to promote accessibility and inclusion in the legal field.
The I-DAP wing of IDIA advocates for systemic changes in law schools and the wider legal ecosystem with the objective of making our spaces more accessible for persons with disabilities.
The United Nations Convention on Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD), and the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016 (Act) provide for frameworks to include persons with disabilities in the mainstream and remove barriers to their equal access of resources.
Building inclusion in law schools
The Act puts an obligation on all establishments, which also include educational institutions, to provide equal opportunities to education, and reasonable accommodations (wherever required), for persons with disabilities.
In keeping with this idea of equal access to resources, the programme will provide software training to law students with visual impairment which would help in enhancing access to their curriculum, legal databases, and various digital technologies. This programme aims to help students with their academic and professional enhancement.
There is a need for a different way of teaching to equip students with visual impairment with these software skills which are essential to multiple aspects of their lives and which would become increasingly important in the times to come. While universities comply with the law in many ways, we feel that lack of software training for law school coursework is a major lacuna to foster true accessibility and inclusivity in these universities. – Svetlana Correya, Director in charge, I-DAP
The session will be conducted by trainers from Enable India Foundation. IDIA will facilitate the programme, by coordinating the programme and, conducting and taking this training to law campuses – virtually and physically when campuses re-open, for all students with visual impairment.
The training packets designed during the programme shall be available in public domain for reference and access by all students, as and when required. The training curriculum comprises of four specially crafted modules, each of which teach an essential skill required by every law student.
The curriculum aims to cover the following modules:
- Module I: Basics of using screen readers for computers.
- Module II: Basic and advanced features of MS Office (MS Word, MS Excel, MS PowerPoint).
- Module III: Using legal databases.
- Module IV: Core skills for various documents’ drafting (formatting, visual effects, organising and presenting, citations and plagiarism, writing structure, emailing, and documenting).
‘This is good news given that law schools are not very accessible”, says Maitreya Shah, an Ahmedabad=based lawyer who is visually impaired. “There are schools that are trying though. Gujarat National Law University (GNLU) and the National University of Juridical Sciences (NUJS)have already established accessibility labs, and National Law University, Odisha (NLUO) also has one I believe”.
The project is open for students from all academic years from any law school of the country and the training will be conducted for free.
For registrations you can fill the form here. Or contact Svetlana Correya with the subject line ‘IDIA Inclusive Learning Programme at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The last date for filling up the form is 5 December 2020.
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