Monday, October 15, 2018

Person With Ability ?


The use of the acronym 'PWD' - Person With Disability, for the physically challenged person in government and education sector is quite common; all with good intentions and inclusions of the not so privileged in the society at large. It was during the preparation for the National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) visit to the college that I, as one of the teachers got to know of the acronym and what a boon the facility for a PWD. There are reservations, concessions and facilities to make such a person self dependent and self reliant in the family and society.


Accordingly, for the NAAC peer team visit, our college had invited all PWDs so that the college facts and adherence to education norms could be corroborated . Even the parents of PWDs were sent special invitation for interacting with the NAAC Peer Team. While all care was taken to show the financial and administrative facilities for the PWDs, on the other hand, there were invitations for the students who had shown excellence in curricular, co-curricular, sports and extra curricular activities. I remember a few talented and deserving students who had come with a big haul of medals and certificates from recognized bodies. These were the students who had exceptional abilities in their respective areas. There were other students too who were also working under the 'Earn and Learn' scheme  so as to take care of their financial part, themselves. I respect and admire all these students (PWDs, bright students and responsible students) who either try to cope with their circumstances or excel in their areas of choice or are understanding and responsible towards their family.

Education sector addresses a varied number of issues and cases to see justice and equality for all; successfully (or not is debatable).  There are scholarships and recognition for students to promote the culture of excellence to bring forth quality in young generation and motivate all for progress. 

In between all this, the student with ability which is a quality, is forgotten or not promoted at all. With ability, I would like to specify the qualities or morals that children are taught at a young age. These morals include speaking the truth, inculcating good habits, practicing hygiene, respecting elders, caring for others, loving nature etc. I am in fact amazed by the variety of stories in 'Panchtantra' that address all these morals through mundane characters and simplicity of story telling. Indeed, if a person is to practice all these morals, wouldn't it lead to all desirable quality(ies) in and as a person, as a professional, in the culture & society and finally the world ?

Hats off to Indian Prime Minister who has practiced and promoted ideas like 'Swachchh Bharat Abhiyaan', 'International Yoga Day', etc., which are in tune with the inculcation of good habits and morals. It is onto the society to imbibe them and pass it to the coming generation. A well aware person has the potential to be a just person and accordingly becomes  the start of the greater change in society. It causes a revolution when the society abides by the rules and regulations.

A person with such qualities is desirable to the family for his caring attitude; to the society as a good citizen; to the company for his amicable behavior etc. His qualities are because of his ability to think of the larger good. The transition from 'quality' to 'ability' is because of recognition by family and friends and encouragement from elders and teachers. No wonder children show progress in certain areas like debates, team spirit, arts, crafts, music, story telling, spinning tall tales, oration etc; which consequently also define the attitude towards work. But the abilities that I talk of are hardly rewarded later on because the competitive world is busy judging the intelligence of person, never his 'qualities'. India as a country does have awards and recognition for citizens who do good to society but is there fairness in the process ? Are there not hundreds of anonymous citizens who did greater good, selflessly ? Is it not the time for the country to reward and recognize such citizens at village / city / state level ? Why do we have laws only to punish the guilty ? Why not have provisions to acknowledge the good behavior too ? Will this process not generate more positivity?

Our education system solely relies on numbers and no matter how stringent we make the laws, there are bound to be loopholes. One must admit that awareness among the parents is on the increase and they show courage in defying norms by encouraging their child to pursue their hobbies and interests. Even the modern companies are promoting employees to work as per their interests and aptitude rather than follow staid patterns of job / work culture. 'A person with ability' becomes desirable to the progress of the company. A child who excelled in giving speeches has good prospects with apt companies. The educational qualification that he had slogged for are only for getting a job, whereas for excelling in the job, all an employee needs is the strength and potential of his ability.

I would like to make a few observations as follows :

1. Let children between age group 2-8 be channeled for inculcating good habits to make them good and responsible citizens. Their efforts in adapting to healthy habits will teach them that everything has to be learned through hard work. Our education system teaches this aspect but does not practice it. Family system is also unable to accomplish the task due to problems of urbanization.

2. Children in the age group of 6-18 should be promoted for identifying and pursuing their interest so as to make them aware that developing and skills. Schools are highly successful in implementing various activities for the all round development of the children and channeling them for the competitive world. So what is lacking then ? Is it the lack of rewards ? No ! It is basically the lack of quantifying these qualities for higher studies. There need to be identification of skills required for the modern world and accordingly their promotion in obtaining recognition. So many qualities of a person are not recognized solely due to the lacking system and its parameters.

3. Youngsters in graduation and post graduation need to be made aware of the requirements of the world and allowed to choose their subjects, possible through the liberal education. This is a concept that is in its nascent stage but fast catching up.

4. Professionals who make it to the corporate ladder, should be allowed to pursue or develop their skills for  few hours in a month. The corporate social responsibility is not only about the society, it also must be inclusive of its employees. A happy employee is the one to contribute in the happiness quotient of the society. The increasing graph lines that indicate the progress of a company, need to remember that it is one of the reasons of decreasing social activity and enthusiasm among the society.

All in one, one in all ! A person with ability needs his due place. Instead of newspapers and news channels blaring 'Breaking News', let there be a time for 'Happy News' where good contributions from citizens are applauded.

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