Education March 19, 2020
Accessibility Lab at NUJS to foster greater inclusion of disabled students in law schools
In a fitting tribute to the late Dr Shamnad Basheer, the IDIA Charitable Trust and the West Bengal National University of Juridical Sciences has launched a unique initiative called the Prof (Dr) Shamnad Basheer Accessibility Lab. The lab aims to work to foster greater inclusion of disabled students.
As founder of Increasing Diversity by Increasing Access to Legal Education (IDIA), the late Dr Shamnad Basheer empowered youth from marginalised backgrounds to take up a career in law. In a fitting tribute an Accessibility Lab has been launched in his honour at the campus of the West Bengal National University of Juridical Sciences (NUJS).
Lab equipped with latest assistive tech
The lab aims to promote greater accessibility in law schools across India by creating a more enabling environment for disabled students. Called the Prof (Dr) Shamnad Basheer Accessibility Lab, it will be equipped with the latest technological devices like the Index Basic-D V5 Braille Embosser, Braille Paper Tractor Feed, and the Duxbury Braille Translator.
This lab is a fitting tribute to Dr Shamnad Basheer who started IDIA with the aim to promote greater diversity, inclusion and accessibility in law schools and beyond. The IDIA Disability Access Program, a national vertical of IDIA, advocates for systemic changes in law schools and the wider legal ecosystem to make our spaces more accessible for persons with disabilities. – Statement by Increasing Diversity by Increasing Access to Legal Education
The IDIA has collaborated with Sony Pictures Networks Distribution India Pvt (SPND) to organise two workshops relating to accessibility. Two were held in Bengaluru and Mumbai. “Prof. (Dr.) Shamnad Basheer had also taught in NUJS. It is heart-warming to see both the organisations join hands for this wonderful initiative. We hope to see many more law schools follow suit”, said the IDIA in a press statement.
Speaking to the media, Swati Agarwal, Director (Operations), IDIA, said “It’s a space with state-of-the-art technology that students with visual impairments can use. Non-NUJS students with disability can use the lab with permission from IDIA and NUJS”.
Accessibility close to Dr Basheer’s heart
A pan-India movement, the IDIA was started to train underprivileged students and help transform them into leading lawyers and community advocates. Although not disabled himself, access and accessibility had always been subjects close to Dr Basheer’s heart. He was a much loved and respected figure in the disability community. He is credited with one of the most progressive provisions in copyright law. The provision allows copyrighted work to be converted so persons with disabilities can access it without worrying about copyright infringement.
Dr Basheer, who 43 years old was found dead in his car in central Karnataka in August last year. Police believe he may have slept off in his car with the heater on and choked to death.
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