According to a survey conducted in 2018 by Association of Special Educators and Allied Professionals (ASEAP), it is estimated that there are, 40 million, from the age of 4-16 years old, are Children with Special Needs (CwSNs) in India. Special Education is a system of education where the Special Educator gives these CwSNs, education in a way that addresses their unique strengths, abilities, and differences. For a population of this size, India needs a minimum of 1.5 million special educators to address their needs.
Acknowledging the greater necessity to develop special educators, in 2019, Cognizant Foundation initiated a pilot scholarship programme to support 50 deserving students from economically weaker sections across India to pursue B.Ed. Special Education. The scholarships were offered to Institutions approved by the Rehabilitation Council of India with outstanding NACC rating and a high reputation in the field of special education. The scholarships also covered array of specialization including but not restricted to Visual Impairment (VI), Hearing Impairment (HI), Learning Disability (LD), Multiple Disabilities (MD), Intellectual Disability (ID), Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), Mental Retardation (MR) and Cerebral Palsy (CP).
Based on the successful pilot phase, this project is now extended to 100 students pursuing B.Ed. Special Education commencing the academic year 2019-20 covering Institutes across India.