GUWAHATI, June 27 - Amvalika Senapati, coordinator of the Disability Law Unit of Shishu Sarothi, an NGO working for persons with disabilities, had taken part recently in the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Anniversary Fellowship Program on Inclusive Education, at the University of Minnesota, United States.
Under the fellowship, professionals with work experience with or for NGOs, government, universities, schools or community-based organisations, were invited to travel to the US as part of the programme to learn about inclusive education, and upon return to their respective home countries, to be responsible for implementing a project to foster the adoption or improve the quality of inclusive education in their settings.
The fellowship was a merit-based competition open to candidates in Kazakhstan, Armenia, Ukraine and India. Out of 400 applications from early to mid-career professionals, 28 participants were selected with seven fellows from each country. The fellowship programme, sponsored by the US State Department and conducted by the University of Minnesota in collaboration with the University of Arizona, hosted 20 Fellows in Minnesota and remaining eight in Arizona. It included a five-week stay at Minneapolis/Arizona and the last week at Washington DC.
�The programme offered rich learning experience in inclusive education and on universal design for learning (UDL), a pedagogy, which endeavours to make expert learners of all students, including learners with disabilities. Our existing inflexible, one-size-fits-all curricula often raise unintentional barriers to learning, even for learners without disabilities and UDL would promote diversity in the classroom as strength rather than it becoming a barrier. I am confident that this could work wonders for all children to achieve to their best capabilities and I�m keen on initiating the concept and idea of UDL so that slowly we can start implementing it,� said Amvalika.