Early Technical Education and Skilling at Nascent Stage A Must for differently-abled after schooling?
The post Pandemic stress has been faced by all professionals and students with sudden changes that have arisen due to the huge leap that the entire eco-system and education infrastructure has taken. This has led to the unfolding of multiple challenges and gaps across all sectors and sections of society. Technology especially has been collaborating effectively with the current ecosystem and has been chosen by all sectors and sections to cope up with the challenge of accessibility and connectivity. However, this is not the case with the differently-abled who have been facing isolation and exclusion for a very long time. Technical knowledge and ease of accessibility of such knowledge would sincerely help the differently-abled to cope with such challenges posed. The advent of many adaptive technologies for the differently-abled would make them capable of allowing them to explore new career avenues across sectors.
The Government along with large organizations has launched various online programs that are industry oriented that can be enrolled online. These programs have posed a huge challenge in maneuvering the difficulties faced by differently-abled individuals of not being technologically sound. Moreover, it becomes extremely difficult for the differently-abled to adapt and not be dependent on others for help due to physical and social hindrances. However, Adaptive and Assistive Technologies have been empowering differently-abled individuals. The recently announced National Education Policy 2020 focused on multiple entry and exit options in the four-year undergraduate degrees. With strong emphasis on technical education, the National Education Policy also suggested that the new school curriculum should involve vocational and technical education from class 6.
Most of the organizations and institutions are now implementing assistive technologies such as automated wheelchairs, automatic flat escalators, Sight, and Sound Technology, etc. for better mobility of these candidates. Other Adaptive Technologies are in the form of various IoT apps and devices such as Text-to-Speech, On-screen boards, text-to-speech synthesizers, magnification applications, screen readers, electronic pointing devices, alternative keyboards, computers with visual output and voice output that can help the differently-abled to interact freely and also manage their job roles efficiently.
As per Census 2011, 36% of the total 1.46 crore differently-abled population was employed. However, there still seems to be a huge gap that can be fulfilled through social inclusion of the differently-abled and creating slightly tweaked job roles for better career opportunities that can empower them in a career of their choice.
Jewellery Design and Technology is a great career opportunity for differently-abled candidates. The qualifications needed are being a graduate from any stream and having a good grounding in creative arts. The career option demands to have a good creative mind and a fair sense of design and creative understanding. This career option offers a great option to start your own freelance jewelry designing set-up. This career option requires less mobility and great networking skills to acquire clients.
Computer Application Software Engineer is a great opportunity for those with analytical skills and has an aspiration to program and design new applications. Those aspiring to Computer Applications Software Engineer can acquire Executive up to Management Level positions in the organizations. The Computer Applications Software Engineer also has other career options to choose from such as being a Mobile Applications Developer, Desktop Applications Developer, Web Developer, Graphic Designer, Systems Administrator, and many more. Bachelors or a Masters Degree in Computer Applications, Certifications could be voluntary certifications of programs learned. This career option does not require mobility but would need basic networking and client servicing which can be managed through technology.
Architecture is a profession and a career option well suited for those who would like to aspire to get roles in the Public Works Department, Town Planning, and Draftsmen /CADD Designers. The job responsibility of an architect is usually functional and would need client servicing and networking. The architect’s role would also involve designing a project based on clients’ requirements. This profile would need a Science background in high school and the subject can be chosen as a major’s post-high school. This would also need the custodian handling the project to be a bit more mobile and would also need attention to detail.
The other sectors which the differently-abled can choose as a career option would be CSR Manager in an organization, Handicraft Industry, Virtual Tour Guide, Voice over artist in case there is an interest for the individual in the entertainment industry as it is flourishing currently.
Even though all these challenges of Digital Exposure can be resolved, the most important aspect that one must not forget is to have an all-round training module for the differently-abled in a language that is understood and comprehended by them through trainers who can communicate easily with them. It is also important to have a differently-abled train with Soft Skills, Hard Skills, that would benefit and encourage them to communicate with their peers. There are multiple technical applications online which would help the differently-abled to be well prepared for the world outside.
Author of the article- Mr. Prashant Agarwal, President of Narayan Seva Sansthan. NSS is a non-profit organization serving differently abled and underprivileged individuals.