Field of disability management is a classic example of a journey from charity model to right based model. To begin with, charity is a beautiful feeling that endorses going beyond self by “giving” or “helping” others. This feeling at times – if not always, paves path to desirable actions. In early years of consolidated efforts towards disability management, the charity mindset played a rather positive role in establishing a basic network of services in the form of non-profit organizations (mostly special schools) in India and particularly in Maharashtra. However, unfortunately, more than often, the charity driven initiatives are at risk of unstructured functioning and quality compromised service delivery. In recent decades we gradually started realizing the ‘cons’ of charity model when we started differentiating between SYMPATHY (understanding disability from own emotional perspective) and EMPATHY (understanding disability from the perspective of the person with disability by putting oneself in the other persons shoes). Sympathy and charity mindset – if I may say so, leave lesser space for professionalism. Through our website we want to draw the attention to the fact that RIGHT and not CHARITY is the driving force today in the field of disability management (rather diversity management) and inclusive education. Assessment, education, intervention etc need to be insisted upon but not to ‘help poor disabled’ or towards their ‘welfare’ but to ensure the ‘rights’ of the person with disability. Hence our theme for the year is - SADDA HAQUE!
With the backdrop of disability management being linked with charity which in turn is linked with compromised quality, we at HACSE are rather over sensitive about quality of services. Unlike majority of colleges of special education HACSE has undergone the quality process in tune with higher education institutes in India. As a part of this NAAC (National Assessment and Accreditation Council) process, therefore we are proud to announce that all our AQARs (Annual Quality Assurance Reports) are submitted on time and are accepted by the NAAC. We are deep into the NAAC process in our second cycle and an expert peer team visited us in Sept 22. Yes, we are blessed with a B+ GRADE. From B of 2016 to to B+ in 2022! What a struggle… what a journey!!
Two of the other points to be proud of this year are: Our International Interdisciplinary Online Conference (IIOC) and long term RCI recognition for our B Ed – special education (Learning Disability). For the first time we organized an international interdisciplinary conference. For a comparatively small team of ours, it was a herculean task. But we managed and managed it well thanks to the team efforts of staff, students and alumni. Representatives of eight nations participated and presented the assessment and diagnosis practices vis a vis learning disability. All sessions can be found on our YouTube channel – Aabhasi.
We have been offering B Ed (LD) for just 6 years and we were able to establish sustainable processes which fetched us the highest possible score at the time of institutional assessment by the Rehabilitation Council of India. As a result, our B Ed (LD) program is now recognized till 2026.
On academic front as well, the year 2021-22 treated us well. Nisha Kutty and Poonam Mishra enrolled for Ph D, Kasturi Kulkarni completed her externally funded minor research. Our result of rolling out batch was 100% as earlier years. We conducted our usual ‘A’ series: Adhikar, Aayam, Aarambh, Aarushi and AAHA meet with our usual earnest efforts. We updated our website to be able to make it more informative and accessible.
This year was the year of back-to-normal and we reassured our grip on hybrid teaching learning. IQAC played a big role in mediating new systemic changes which led us to conclude that quality and innovation work hand in hand. It is time we in disability sector think of quality as the right of the beneficiaries as well as the stakeholders. Feedback and ongoing improvement matter a lot to us. Hence, do get back, do connect through any of our social media platforms.
Dr Asmita Huddar