Empowering Inclusive Education and Assistive Technology

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The International Purple Fest’s second day saw a National Summit on Inclusive Education and a South Asian Workshop on Technology. Speakers discussed inclusive education, AI’s potential impact, and innovative assistive technologies, showcasing India’s commitment to accessible education for all.

Panaji, 9th January 2024, Purple Fest 2024: On the second day of the International Purple Fest, a National Summit on Inclusive Education was held at the Maquinez Palace, Panaji. The summit commenced with the Founder Director at Brotherhood, New Delhi, Satish Kapoor, welcoming the gathering.

The panel for the discussion included Dr. Sandhya Limaye from TISS, Mumbai; Martin Matthew, representing the Ali Yavar Jung National Institute Of Speech And Hearing Disabilities; Taha Haaziq, Secretary of the Office of the Commission for Persons with Disabilities and Avelino De Sa, president of the Disability Rights Association of Goa.

Dr. Sandhya Limaye highlighted the inclusive education conference that has been ongoing for over 10 years. During the session, which hosted over 120 participants, she emphasised the importance of higher education for disabled individuals. “One day, we will unite to establish an inclusive environment, benefiting not only children with disabilities but also those from minority groups,” she added.

Martin Mathew discussed the relevance of the uses and gratification theory, which explores the effects of media on people. He said, “We should place information into a digital space as it is the age of AI supremacy.”

Avelino De Sa agreed with Mathew and stated that despite the challenges in implementing inclusive education in schools and colleges, it remains crucial to increase and effectively execute government policies for raising awareness.

Taha Haaziq spoke about the importance of AI. He said, “AI is the right way to go. Artificial Intelligence (AI) has the potential to deeply impact the lives of individuals with disabilities in various ways.”

Day two also witnessed a South Asia Workshop On Technology and Inclusive Education. Chaired by Dr. Brendra Pokharel, Vice President of ICEVI West Asia, the workshop featured informative presentations by Dr. Homiyar, Head Bookstore South Asia & Africa, and Hunny Bhagchandani from Startup TorchIt. They demonstrated how technology can revolutionise education, particularly in science, mathematics, and other advanced subjects, making it more accessible and engaging for everyone.

A key takeaway was the work being done by young Indian start-ups in the assistive technology space. Encouraged by government initiatives, these startups have developed low-cost, effective, and culturally appropriate devices, positioning India at the forefront globally.

During the event, one of the speakers expressed gratitude to ICEVI for inviting these innovators and setting up stalls at the Purple Fest. “This combination of presentations and hands-on experience allows everyone to learn about and experience these life-changing devices firsthand.”

Also present was Minister of Social Welfare of Goa Subhash Phal Dessai, who spoke about the importance of providing inclusive education. He said, “Inclusive education is an integral part of the world, and we should offer equal chances, rights, opportunities, and respect to all.”

Dessai also acknowledged the use of assistive technology for disabled people and the success of the Purple Fest. “Over 30 conferences have been held across various platforms, discussing problems, rights violations, and policy implementations. “We cannot measure the achievements of this fest on a scale, and I am truly thankful and grateful for the changes in perception and increased awareness,” he added.

TorchIt, an organisation working towards empowering vision beyond sight, presented their advanced products and devices to the audience. Most of their tools cater to the needs of individuals, teachers, and institutions. Tools and apps like DAISY (Digital Accessible Information System), Pipeline App, Mega Voice, and Music Braille were among those listed.

Organised by ICVE Global, the workshop showcased India’s leadership in developing affordable and effective assistive devices for people with disabilities. The diverse range of assistive technologies on display enlightened workshop attendees, each device showcasing the potential to transform the lives of people with disabilities.

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