Abery and Tichá Address Conference in India

Fri Feb 17 2017
Renáta Tichá speaks at summit in India

Brian Abery and Renáta Tichá spoke at "Inclusion - Means or End?," a summit held in Coimbatore, India, on January 4-5. The summit was hosted by Avinashilingam University for Women and co-organized by ICI as part of the ongoing joint project titled, Obama-Singh 21st Century Knowledge Initiative Award 2013: A Sustainable Response to Intervention Model for Successful Inclusion of Children with Disabilities. The project is funded by the United States - India Educational Foundation, and focuses on implementing Response to Intervention (RtI) in Indian model schools.

The field of special education and rehabilitation has grown rapidly in India in the last two decades and the country welcomes perspectives from abroad. Abery and Tichá, who joined the January summit online, traced U.S. perspectives and legislation on inclusive education, emphasizing the essential ingredient of equity. They also discussed their experience implementing Response to Intervention (RtI) in India through the project. The Indian media covered the event . About 200 delegates attended the summit, including teachers, educators, professionals from nongovernmental organizations, teacher trainees, and pre-service teachers.

Over the past three years, Tichá (pictured right with Indian and American colleagues at a June 2016 conference in Coimbatore) and Abery (left) have visited India and Indian delegations have visited Minnesota and other parts of the U.S. as part of the project's work. On January 16-20, Drs. G. Victoria Naomi (Professor of Special Education) and Premavathy Vijayan (Vice Chancellor) from Avinashilingam made a final visit to the University of Minnesota to conclude the project. While in Minnesota, they met with Abery and Tichá to discuss the project results, publications, and to design a joint online course on RtI scheduled to begin in India in June 2017. "The international collaboration between the University of Minnesota and Avinashilingam University does not end with the completion of the project," says Tichá says. "The project partners have built a sustainable university-to-university collaboration that will continue through co-teaching an online certificate course on RtI, contributing to common publications, and by further exchange of different approaches to inclusive education, both virtually and in-person."