The Central Board for Secondary Education (CBSE) has mandated all its affiliated schools to appoint special educators and to create an evaluation programme for differently abled students, based on their abilities and skill sets. Based on the recommendations of its curriculum committee in August last year, the board issued a circular to all its schools this week, saying admission should not be denied to such students.
Board officials said that they issued the circular after finding that many schools did not have special educators yet, and refused admission to students with special needs.
“It is being reiterated to these schools through this circular that if it fails to provide attention to a child with special needs or makes a pretext of denying admission to any category of differently abled children, it henceforth will be liable to stringent action even to the extent of disaffiliation” said a senior official of the board.
“A special educator is required in schools to work with children and young adults who require additional support in order to complete their learning successfully. These teachers may work with children with physical disabilities, sensory impairments, developmental disabilities such as autism, mental retardation, cerebral palsy and specific learning disabilities, as they are emotionally vulnerable and have behavioral difficulties. A special educator can also work with gifted and talented children,” said D T Sudarshan Rao, joint secretary (academic & training) CBSE.
Rao added, “Various parametres are considered for approving and renewing affiliation of schools. Having a special educator is one such parameter now. This is a a huge step towards offering equal opportunity to all children seeking an education, including those with special needs.”
The board has also enclosed with the circular a list of qualifications to be considered before appointing a special educator.
Deepshikha Srivastava, principal of Rajhans Vidyalaya at Andheri, said, “It is a good move, having a special educator in schools will help schools include children with special needs in a regular class. But I think most of the schools, especially in Mumbai, do have special educators.”
Another principal on the condition of anonymity said, “It’s not just the special educator who is needed to accommodate children with special needs. Schools need proper infrastructure to ensure that differently abled kids, especially wheel-chair bound kids, are not inconvenienced.”