IGNOU recently organized an awareness programme on financial schemes for educational and vocational development of students with disability. It was attended by students studying at the regional study centers of IGNOU along with its academic and non-academic staff.
The loan schemes have been initiated by the National Handicapped Finance and Development Corporation (NHFDC) of the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment and implemented by the National Centre for Disability Studies (NCDS).
"The corporation has state channelizing agencies for providing educational loans and training to disabled people along with a stipend of Rs.1 000 per month," says Anil Kumar, Chief Manager, NHFDC. "We also have a scheme of providing loan to parents' association of mentally retarded people to set up an income-generating activity," added Kumar.
Addressing the programme, Mahendra P. Lama, vice chancellor, IGNOU mentioned, every course material of the university shall soon provide half-page information about scholarships offered by NHFDC for people with disability.
About 1,000-1,500 disabled students are enrolled with IGNOU per year. It is the world's largest Open University system with a pan-India and international reach with flexible entry qualifications and a wide range of academic programmes at affordable cost. It was founded to impart education by means of distance and open education, provide higher education opportunities particularly to the under priviledged segments of society, encourage, coordinate and set standards for distance and open education in India.