Nirantar Trust Resource Centre for Gender & Education held a hybrid consultation for the 5th Global Report on Adult Learning and Education (GRALE), on 18th January 2022. The consultation was part of the process of preparing India’s Spotlight Report for the GRALE. As part of one of the panels held during this consultation – titled “ALE in context of Marginalization”, our founder and executive director Nidhi Goyal spoke alongside Ritambhara from Nazariya, and Ashif Shaikh from Jan Sahas. The session was moderated by Purnima Gupta from Nirantar, and was the first event of the day.
Nidhi began by setting the context of disaggregated data available around disability in India, and the gaps within it – which become a huge barrier in understanding the depth of the issues faced by this section of the population. She then went on to elaborate on the relationship between disability and education in the country – “Even with all the gaps within the data, it is evident that a large section of disabled persons in India – 45% – are illiterate. Many adult persons with disabilities have never been exposed to education, and have never had learning opportunities. It is very important to address this gap.”
She also brought in the intersection of gender, and stated that women with disabilities are even less likely to be able to access education, due to the presence of increased stigma – “When you imagine that a person will be incapable and will continue to be a burden, you seldom think of creating opportunities for learning, growth, and development for them. The need for inclusion within society/ government or civil society initiatives, is not seen as important.”
She ended her talk by stressing on the importance of bringing in conversations around universal accessibility within adult education.