ASET Colloquium

The Blind in STEM - A Reality Check

by Dr. Sam Taraporevala (Director, Xavier's Resource Centre for the Visually Challenged (XRCVC)), Dr. Neha Trivedi (Xavier's Resource Centre for the Visually Challenged (XRCVC))

Friday, October 23, 2020 from to (Asia/Kolkata)
at Online ( )
Can we imagine a person with blindness leading a chemistry research program or a marine biology department? Whilst this is true, the overdependence of eyesight amongst the sighted has led to long held misconceptions on STEM careers for people with disabilities (PWDs). Challenge also comes from the pedagogical formulations of scientific education. Is science physical or Cerebral? If purpose of science is to lead scientific advancements, shouldn’t the focus of training be on conceptual functioning and not restricted to physical skills. The latter in the increasingly AI dependent world can be easily lent to robots or assistants. STEM career talent lies with the same distribution pattern amongst PWDs as those without. Aren’t we ignoring a talent pool? With sensory substitution and conceptual functioning PWDs can pursue and succeed in STEM careers. Are we ready to create inclusion or barriers to their entry and access?

About the Speakers:
Dr. Sam Taraporevala retired as Associate Professor & Head Department of Sociology and Anthropology of St. Xavier’s College, Autonomous, Mumbai. He is currently the Executive Director of the Xavier’s Resource Centre for the Visually Challenged (XRCVC) which he founded in 2003. He has been actively involved in advocacy and awareness work in the field of social inclusion using applied research to address key access challenges for persons with blindness and low vision. He has been at the forefront of work resulting in the amendment of the Copyright Act, India in 2012, deployment of over 30000 accessible ATMs in India and opening up of science education for blind and low vision students. He is currently the Vice President & Chair, Committee on Policy Intervention, DAISY Forum of India. He was a member of the Taskforce for National Centre of Universal Design and Barrier-free Environment for Persons with Disabilities, Sub-group on Accessibility, Mobility, Research & Innovation to give inputs for the 12th Five year Plan and so on.

Dr. Neha Trivedi is a psychology graduate (St. Xavier’s College, Mumbai) with masters in Medical and Psychiatric Social Work from Tata Institute of Social Science. She has over 14 years of experience in the disability sector. She has been with the Xavier’s Resource Centre for the Visually Challenged – the department for students with disabilities at St. Xavier’s College, Mumbai.
Organised by Dr. Satyanarayana Bheesette