Ashoka Reflections_SEPTEMBER 2023

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Talking about Ashoka University’s vision towards inclusion, Somak Raychaudhury, Vice Chancellor, Ashoka

University, said, “We firmly believe that differently-abled students should never be prevented from attaining

a world-class education. This conclave is part of many dialogues that we plan to take forward, creating

pathways for the exchange of best practises, experiences, and research among institutions, enabling us to

collectively improve.” He further remarked, “At Ashoka University, we lay equal emphasis on addressing

invisible forms of different abilities, such as chronic illnesses or neuro-divergence. It is crucial that we build

capacities across campuses in the country to both identify and address such invisible forms.”

Talking about the progress made by the university, Reena Gupta, Director, the Office of Learning Support,

Ashoka University, mentioned that they started with a vision for the inclusion of students with invisible

disabilities back in 2015 and today they support students with all kinds of visible and invisible disabilities. At

least 3% of the entire student body on campus comprises differently-abled students today. She further

stated that the university has robust systems that enable mobility, accommodations, learning aids, and

support during their study years at Ashoka. Also, over the years, the culture on campus has evolved to a

level where the entire student community now plans to integrate accessibility features into all their events.

Going forward, they want to build multi-stakeholder partnerships to make disability inclusion a norm in

higher education in India.

The conclave also featured a workshop titled, ‘Unpacking the Vision of Inclusive Higher Education through

the Lens of Disability,’ moderated by Neha Trivedi, Founder, Spandan: Inclusion and Accessibility

Consultancy Services. The participants deliberated in focused sub-groups to generate solutions for a wide

range of challenges, such as addressing social stigmas and closing gaps in research, support services, or

recruitment processes. It resulted in consensus on the adoption of several measures, such as the

establishment of experience-sharing platforms among and within institutions or the inclusion of individuals

with different abilities in decision-making roles.

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