Global IT Challenge for Youth with Disabilities 2018 Begins

The Global IT Challenge for Youth with Disabilities, 2018 was inaugurated here today by the Minister of State for Social Justice & Empowerment, Krishan Pal Gurjar.The three day event is being organised by the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (DEPwD), Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment in association with Rehabilitation International Korea and their associated partner LG Electronics from 9thto 11th November, 2018.The objective of the event is to leverage IT skills among youth with disabilities and also to spread awareness about the application of Information and Computer Technology (ICT) in enhancing the quality of life of persons with disabilities especially in Asia-Pacific region. The award ceremony of the event will be held on 11th November, 2018. Secretary, DEPwD Shakuntala D. Gamlin, MD, LG Electronics India Ltd. Mr. Kim Ki Wan and Head of UNESCAP (South Asia) Mr. Nagesh Kumar and other distinguished guests were present on the occasion.

The Global ICT Challenge for Youth with Disabilities is a capacity building project that helps youth with disabilities to overcome their limitations and challenge themselves for a better future by providing them with access to ICT and related experiences, improving their ability to leverage information and social participation while setting ICT agendas for participant countries related to disabilities and boosting international cooperation and exchange.

This year around 100 youth with disabilities (visual disability, hearing disability, locomotor disability and intellectual disability/developmental disorder) from 18 countries namely, India, Indonesia, China, Vietnam, Malaysia, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal, Mongolia, Cambodia, Laos, Philippines, Korea, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, UK and UAE are participating in this event.India has nominated twelve youth with disabilities to participate in the event. These youth with disabilities have been selected on the basis of the National IT Challenge conducted by the Ministry through NIT Kurukshetra in June, 2018. India has been participating in the event since 2013 and has been winning awards ever since. Last year the event was held in Vietnam.

The competition is focused on strategies for strengthening IT skills of youth with disabilities as a critical requirement for enhancing their access to information and communication services on an equal basis with others. It is being held with a total of four events including e-Tool Challenge to evaluate the skills of using the MS Office programme and e-Life Map Challenge to evaluate the online information search ability in specific situations.

Delivering inaugural address, Krishan Pal Gurjaremphasised the needs to make ICT accessible to persons with disabilities through various services and products so that they participate in all activities of society equally with others. He said that efforts must be made by all the stakeholders to improve IT skills of persons with disabilities. He stated that India is deeply committed to the empowerment and inclusion of persons with disability. All out steps are being taken to make their life easy and productive by use of IT technology.

Shakuntala D. Gamlin in her address said that Information & Communication Technology is the prime medium for providing accessible platform for dissemination of information for persons with disabilities. Today, we have plethora of applications and softwares across the world that can be used for improving the life skills of persons with disabilities to enable them to lead the dignified life such ICT tools can work as communication bridge for the persons with disabilities. The use of ICT can reduce digital divide and expand social integration of persons with disabilities across communities and counties by creating an accessible global information network.India has always been in the forefront of software development in the world. However, there is a need to create deeper and wider awareness about the application of ICT at the grass root level for empowering the person with disabilities. We have been tirelessly working in this direction.

She opined that holding of the Global IT challenge annually has certainly made an impact on promoting the use of ICT among the youth with disabilities. DEPwD holding National IT Competition yearly in concert with GITC.

Speaking at the occasion. Mr. Kim Ki Wan, Managing Director, LG Electronic India said, “We are elated to host GITC (Global IT Challenge) for youth with disabilities in India this year. Every year we have seen an encouraging participation from young students and we are positive that this year too it will bring immense value to their lives and help them emerge as future leaders.

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