A special opportunity
Manovikas-ignou Community College helps special children take a step closer to mainstream education
Gyan, a mentally-challenged student, completed a hospitality training programme recently from Manovikas-Ignou Community College (MCC). Recognising his prior interest in the kitchen, he was enrolled with a hospitality training programme at MCC. Now, he has landed a job with the food chain, Haldirams. The sixmonth training at MCC changed his life and helped him overcome limitations in areas such as decision-making and functional writing... and get a university certificate and a salary of R6500 per month.
MCC offers higher and vocational education to children with intellectual and developmental problems.
Shwetha Taing, who is also mentally-challenged and has behavioural problems, got great support from her parents and MCC. Taing’s mother Vijaya gave up her lecturer’s job in Gwalior soon after she finished playschool so as to devote more time to her experiential education, homeschooling her throughout. The family later moved base to Delhi. Vijaya believes that while parents may go through many moments of self-doubt nurturing special kids, they must persist and be supportive. “It was tough during those years but I home tutored Shwetha. A formal education is not the only way or guarantee that the child will succeed. There needs to be environmental education, practical tasks that they should be taught, life skills, awareness of their surroundings and, most of all, confidence building. Sadly, many parents don’t look at their child’s special needs in a positive light,” she says.
After her daughter attended classes at MCC, she had a peer group about whom she could talk after coming back home. “She had behavioural problems, but after going to college, I have seen immense change is her behaviour and my daughter is more confident today,” says Vijaya.
USP: MCC is a one of its kind institution in India which provides transition from special school or general prior learning to mainstream higher education. According to Alok Bhuwan, founder and managing secretary of MCC, “It is important for people with intellectual disabilities to have a voice of their own. We help them overcome their shortcomings so that they can become more confident and independent.”
Faculty: The college has 23 resident faculty members and experts for the special children.
Programmes: MCC offers courses in three broad categories- associate degree programmes, diplomas and cer- tificate courses. After completing the associate degree programmes, the students can enrol directly in the third year of any degree programme for an honours course. The four certificate programmes are career-specific for the target group - basic business skills, retail assistant, hospitality training and office attendant. The programmes are also offered for professionals working with people with disability. In addition to these, programmes in soft skills and information technology have also been introduced. The IT course provides skills in writing, editing and printing documents using MS-Word and Excel, using the Internet and email. An ability enhancement multimedia programme has also been introduced recently.
IT quotient and infrastructure: MCC has a good and healthy environment. The college provides facilities for speech and occupational therapy. It has a speech therapy room, a multi-sensory room, classrooms and a training laboratory.