Updated February 5th, 2024 at 09:42 IST

DEPwD's Bold Move: Reimbursing School Fees for Blind and Deaf Students Pursuing STEM Education

DEPwD to reimburse the school fees of eligible blind and deaf students from class 9-12 who are either pursuing or aspiring to pursue STEM courses

Reported by: Nandini Verma
STEM Inclusivity: Reimbursement for Blind and Deaf Students | Image:Pixabay
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In a progressive move towards fostering inclusivity in education and eliminating financial barriers, the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (DEPwD) under the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment has announced plans to reimburse the school fees of eligible blind and deaf students from class 9 to 12 who are either pursuing or aspiring to pursue STEM courses.

The DEPwD is set to reach out to concerned departments and states to build awareness about this initiative, aiming for swift implementation. The decision is part of a broader effort to support the education of students with disabilities in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) fields.

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Financial Support for STEM Education:

Based on recommendations from the National Fund for Persons with Disabilities (PwDs), the proposal is designed to financially assist 1,000 children annually from classes 9 to 12, with up to Rs 1.5 lakh per year. This support is specifically for pursuing STEM education in a school that can accommodate their special needs. Eligibility criteria specify that fully blind or deaf students from families with a maximum income (from all sources) of up to Rs 8 lakh per annum can avail of this assistance.

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Implementation Process:

Officials from the DEPwD's National Institutes and Composite Regional Centres will oversee the selection of students and choose appropriate schools for their education. While schools are not mandated to register on the National Scholarship Portal (NSP), details of students will be cross-verified to prevent duplicity.

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Objective and Impact:

The primary objective of this initiative is to increase the enrollment of students with disabilities in STEM courses, ultimately enhancing their academic performance and career prospects. Recognizing the importance of STEM education, the DEPwD had previously funded the establishment of STEM labs for classes 11 and 12 in schools catering to blind, deaf, or intellectually disabled students. The lack of response from schools prompted the government to take fresh measures, emphasizing the importance of supporting tuition fees to create a conducive STEM learning environment for blind and deaf students.

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This groundbreaking decision aligns with the government's commitment to inclusivity in education, ensuring that students with disabilities have equal access and opportunities in the STEM field.

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Published February 5th, 2024 at 09:42 IST