Deccan Education Society’s
SAATHI Enabling Centre
SAATHI Enabling Centre, as a unit of Social Outreach and Enabling Centre (SOEC) of Fergusson College, aims to create a friendly atmosphere for students with disabilities to integrate them with mainstream campus life. With the help of its volunteers, SAATHI works on various issues and special needs of its students by organizing different activities, events, discussion forums, webinars, and by facilitating study material to print impaired students. At the same time, it also seeks to develop empathy, teamwork skills and leadership qualities in volunteers. This is achieved by encouraging their participation in various activities
The major activities undertaken by SAATHI Enabling Centre are as follows:
Peer Mentoring: A peer mentor called ‘SAATHI’ is allocated to each special student who is responsible for his general well-being. Saathi help in negotiating with the day to day life in college l
Study Circle: This provides academic assistance to the blind students in the college. The sighted and the blind students meet twice a week. Academic activities include reading of text books, working of English proficiency, recording notes or making the recorded notes available.
Support for competitive exams : SAATHI volunteers provide assistance to students in need towards preparation of various competitive exams. They assist in the study and clearing the concepts of various subjects along with conducting mock tests to prepare for the exams. Various webinars are planned to increase the awareness about job opportunities and guidance for exam
Inclusive Practices: Conscious effort is made to include the blind students in regular activities of the Sociology Club like group discussions, street plays, workshops etc. This helps in building confidence and creating bonds of friendship between the sighted and the blind students.
Weekly Activity: The blind students and the Saathi meet once every week to discuss about contemporary issues. Such regular meets help to take a follow up about activities, assignments, recordings and any other matter, where students could speak up freely and openly. This ensures that no issues went unnoticed and each query gets so
Annual Celebrating Louis Braille Day – January 4: The blind students are actively involved in organising the events for the day. Various activities are conducted and eminent people in the field are invited to interact with our students.
Computer Training Sessions : Computer training sessions for blind students are conducted where they were trained in the use of JAWS (Job Access With Speech) Software, in a way similar to the Braille Corner in Fergusson College’s library. Students attend these classes to learn independently using computers, a skill that comes handy for anything and everything.
Writers/Helpers for the Examinations/Assignments and Recording: To help visually challenged students for examinations and assignments, they are provided with writers which is one of the important needs of the blind students. A data base of volunteers from within and outside college is maintained and they are contacted during the exams (offline or online). These writers help the blind students with their offline exams. During online exams also, these helpers help the students by narrating them the questions on call as well as writing assignments and then submitting it before the deadlines. As their primary educational resource, visually impaired need their notes recorded. Even for this, volunteers records the required notes (Lets Record Activity) and thus, despite the pandemic and long distances, they make sure that education for the blind should not be hampered. Cloud storage is used to systematically store the recorded notes which shall be easily accessible to blind students in future also
Collaborating with the Let’s Record Initiative, SAATHI Enabling centre also started Let’s Crack activity as an initiative to record and make available study material relevant to competitive exams like UPSC, MPSC, IBPS and others, in audio format to all the students with visually impaired students..
Few recent notable achievements:
1. Pooja Kadam, with the help of SAATHI volunteers in her preparation, passed UPSC with All India Rank of 577
2. Pranit Gupta who was helped by SAATHI volunteers in his exam preparation cracked the CA Foundation exam.
Tejas Waghmare, a student from Second Year, B.A., won the Third Prize in a state-level poetry competition.
Yogesh Mitkari graduated with an excellent CGPA of 8.79 from the Department of Political Science.
SAATHI has been Awarded with Drushti Sanman Puraskar" by Drushti NGO on 16th Febuary, 2018.
Deccan Education Society’s Fergusson College (Autonomous), Pune Career Facilitation Center (CFC)
Policy for Inclusion of Students with Disabilities
The Constitution of India ensures equality, freedom, justice and dignity of all individuals and mandates an inclusive society for all including persons with disabilities(PwD). The policy covers all such students who have disabilities and need special assistance for learning and academic progression. The College has significant number of students with blindness. To cater to their needs and progression the College has established a special cell/center-“SAATHI” enabling Center. The Center solely managed through college students interested to work as peers for blind students and other students with disabilities with a teacher coordinator.
Definition of Disability
“Disability” and “persons with Disabilities” or differently abled persons for this statement are defined as per the “Maharashtra State Policy for Persons with Disabilities”.
1. Every year the college will identify and orient volunteers for helping students with disabilities and it would be a practice to organize orientation session for getting volunteers for this kind of support
2. Help and support disabled students in their academic progression and administrative help like admission form filling, subject mapping with ERP and other student support services of the college.
3. Provide infrastructural support like building ramps for easy access and also in terms of reading material/ braille material and other computer aided assistance.
4. Facilitate in getting scholarships/fellowships through various foundations for students with disabilities and blindness
5. Help in providing/ enhancing their skill sets through very specific programmes/ activities/ workshops meant for enhancing skill sets of such students.
6. Provide them with Writes/Scribes for examination and give them “compensatory time”
7. Organize field trips for entertainment and help in creating a friendly environment in the campus.
The Policy is prepared and executed as per the relevant State Government Policy, Ordinances of Savitribai Phule Pune University and Regulations for Examinations as stated by the University Grants Commission. The College will revise/amend the policy as per the need and subsequent revisions in the State Government policies.
Dr. Santosh Dhotre
Coordinator –‘SAATHI’ Enabling Center
Dr. Ravindrasing Pardeshi