Sunday, Oct 26, 2014

HC orders survey of facilities for differently abled children

Written by Aneesha Mathur | New Delhi | Posted: September 2, 2014 2:37 am

The Directorate of Education (DoE) will soon carry out physical inspections of all private schools in the city to determine whether any facilities for differently abled children are available in the capital’s schools.

The survey was ordered by the Delhi High Court on Monday as a measure to ensure that the provisions of the Persons with Disabilities Act and the Right to Education Act were being implemented. The court of Justice S Ravindra Bhat and Justice Vipin Sanghi had earlier asked the DoE to give a detailed report on the number of differently abled children being accommodated in city schools, and the facilities available to educate children with special needs.

On Monday, after Delhi government counsel Zubeda Begum informed the court that most city schools had failed to respond to the circulars seeking the required information, the court directed the DoE to conduct a zone-wise physical survey of all schools in the capital.

“What is your inspection regime? Take serious action if the schools don’t submit information,” the court said, dismissing DoE’s argument that several circulars had been sent out to the schools, asking for the relevant information.

There are over 1,300 private unaided schools in the city, most of which, DoE officials say, do not have any facilities to cater to CWSNs.

“According to available data, there are only 225 special educators in Delhi government schools and 144 special educators in private schools in the city,” Begum said.

Pulling up private schools, the court warned of “serious action” if the details were not submitted.

Taking note of the affidavit submitted by the DoE, the court said sufficient details were not available about the facilities available in the schools. “Only a few private unaided schools furnished the information sought with respect to admission of CWSN and facilities there for them,” the court said.

The government has now been directed to “ensure that all information is made available in a time-bound manner and issue directions for the same”.

“It is to be supplemented by zone-wise inspection in uniform manner to collect information on the facilities available in the schools,” the court said.

The nodal officer for inclusive education has also been directed to file an affidavit within three weeks on the steps taken so far to implement the 3 per cent reservation for CWSNs in Delhi schools.

The directions were issued while the court was hearing a contempt plea filed by the parent of a differently abled child, who had earlier filed a PIL for implementation of 3 per cent reservation for children with disabilities in nursery admissions.

The court had in April this year issued several directions to give admission to CWSNs in this year’s nursery admissions. The contempt plea was filed by petitioner Pramod Arora, alleging that the court’s directions were not being followed.

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