29th January 2016: Samar Naqvi, Program Manager – Yaqeeen, represented NOWPDP at the Policy Dialogue on Inclusive Education held at Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS). Representatives from Government of Pakistan, LUMS, Various Schools and Universities including Beacon House, Harvard Law School, City School, IoBM etc., STEP, CBM, SightSavers, Fulbright, HEC, British Council amongst others were present at the event.
The event was divided into 4 sections, beginning with an introduction to the dialogue by the Chancellor at LUMS – Sohail Naqvi, Fulbright Executive Director – Rita Akhtar, the Accessibility Committee at LUMS, Country Director Sightsavers, CBM International, and STEP to indicate the importance of inclusion of persons with disabilities and making universities accessible.
This was followed by 3 panel discussions. The first panel was a discussion on the Right to Higher Education with respect to the constitution and legislation surrounding it. The second panel discussed the current practices at universities and international models to emulate. Samar was one of the panelists and the moderator for the discussion. The final panel was on policy framework on inclusive education.
Questions and concerns were raised on the implementation and execution of strategies for inclusive education, which were answered by panelists to the best of their knowledge. Recommendations based on the discussion were noted and presented at the end, one of the most important one being building a dedicated office for accessibility and inclusion facilitation at each university, beginning with LUMS. Information was shared with a number of organizations and institutions and connections were made. The forum gave stakeholders an opportunity to build relationships and find areas of collaboration to ensure the mandate of working together for inclusion.