Centre issues guidelines to improve access to vocational education for people with disabilities


NEW DELHI: On Thursday, the Centre issued guidelines for vocational education and training aimed at improving people with disabilities‘ access to the ecosystem. The guidelines, unveiled at the ongoing International Purple Fest-Goa 2024, aim to bridge existing gaps in the ecosystem and promote inclusivity.
Prepared by the Department of Disabilities, the document outlines the roles and responsibilities of various stakeholders in the VET ecosystem.
The guidelines focus on ensuring that vocational education is accessible to every trainee, regardless of their disability limitations.
This includes specifying minimum standards for awarding bodies, assessment agencies, training centres, and other entities within the VET ecosystem.
The ultimate goal is to design a structure that overcomes the challenges posed by disabilities, allowing trainees to receive quality education and enhancing their employability, according to the guidelines.
The guidelines aim to establish minimum standards for training delivery in VET, creating awareness among PwD learners about the standards they are entitled to, facilitating learning experiences through accessible materials, methods, and assistive devices, and ensuring higher productivity and employability for PwDs.
One crucial aspect addressed in the guidelines is the accessibility of training facilities.
To eliminate barriers, the guidelines recommend infrastructure parameters such as ramps, accessible restrooms, elevators, and assistive technology.
The guidelines also emphasise the importance of considering the needs of individuals with disabilities during the initial planning of infrastructure projects.
Moreover, the guidelines provide a detailed table of infrastructure parameters required at training and assessment centres.
These parameters cover aspects like entrance doors with ramps, windows, lifts, restrooms, drinking water facilities, signage, guiding/warning floor materials, accessible routes/pathways, parking, reception desks, staircases, and portable ramps.
Additionally, the guidelines offer insights into the provision of assistive tools and technologies for individuals with disabilities. They stress the significance of selecting assistive devices based on job roles and individual needs, along with possible modifications to tools and machinery used by PwD trainees.
The guidelines delve into specific strategies for training PwDs with hearing impairments, visual impairments, intellectual disabilities, learning disabilities, and multiple sclerosis.
Pedagogical approaches and curriculum design considerations are also highlighted to create an inclusive learning environment.
The guidelines emphasize the alignment of qualifications with the National Skills Qualification Framework (NSQF), ensuring that courses meet industry demands while catering specifically to the unique needs of PwD trainees.
In the guidelines, awarding bodies, identified as pivotal entities, are entrusted with the responsibility of creating and adopting NSQF-aligned qualifications, placing the priorities of PwD trainees at the forefront.
The role of awarding bodies extends beyond qualification alignment in the guidelines.
They are tasked with developing PwD-friendly learning resources adhering to prescribed standards, monitoring and evaluating the implementation of guidelines, and advocating for the importance of skilling persons with disabilities.
Additionally, awarding bodies must ensure that training centres have accessible infrastructure and at least five per cent of candidates nominated for skill training are persons with disabilities, promoting a culture of inclusivity, the guidelines said.
Assessment agencies, under the guidelines, must create a conducive environment for PwD trainees during assessments, employing strategies such as accessible locations, varied assessment methodologies, and the hiring of specialized PwD assessors.
Training centres are expected to be aware of different types of disabilities, sensitize their staff, and implement practices that promote inclusivity.
The guidelines also extend to regulating bodies, industry participation, and collaboration with central and state government bodies.
The National Council of Vocational Education and Training, as the regulating body, will continuously evaluate courses, monitor awarding bodies’ functioning, and facilitate the capacity building of trainers and assessors for PwDs.


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