With only 30 special educators catering to over 4,000 Children with Special Needs (CWSN), the city government schools can be seen openly flouting the guidelines that were recently issued by the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE).
For as many as 110 government schools with a strength of about 1.6 lakh students, only 24 special educators under the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) and six special educators under the Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA) are working with children with physical disabilities, sensory impairments, developmental disabilities such as autism, mental retardation and cerebral palsy, and specific learning disabilities.
However, as per the guidelines, it is mandatory for all schools to have a special educator to cater to children who require additional support in order to complete their learning.
Till February this year, there were 20 inclusive education volunteers (IEVs) who were working with CWSN. However, all of them were relieved from their duties by the UT Education Department due to inadequate funds. Despite many applications sent to the department, they are yet to be absorbed back in service.
The officials admit that the children are facing problems as the special educators are not being able to provide the required time to each one of them. “It is because of the lack of funds that no volunteers or teachers can be recruited,” said a senior official of the education department.
A counsellor at a government high school in the city’s periphery said, “When our schools do not even have permanent counsellors, how can we expect the department to provide a special educator in every school? When we enroll the CWSN, a team of doctors from the Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32, Government Multispeciality Hospital, Sector 16, and PGIMER examines them in order to ascertain the degree and type of their disabilities.”
As per a survey conducted by the education department to enroll CWSN children for the academic session 2015-16, as many as 3,827 children (2,365 boys and 1,462 girls) with different disabilities have been enrolled in the government schools, while 220 children in the age group of 7-15 have opted for home-based education.
Out of the 3,827 CWSN, 1,049 children have been found to be suffering from low vision, 957 suffer from learning disability, 892 have speech problems, and 421 suffer from mental retardation.
Articulation disorders, stuttering, blindness, mental illness, autism, cerebral palsy, etc, are some of the other problems.
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