The education department has received applications not coming up to even one percent of the reserved seats lying vacant for children with special needs (CWSN) in private schools across the city.
Since last year, all private schools recognised by the education department are required to reserve three percent of all seats at entry-level classes for special needs children.
These admissions take place through a centralised draw of lots conducted by the Delhi government’s Directorate of Education (DoE) — along the lines of the process for Economically Weaker Section (EWS) students — through which the applicants are allotted schools.
However, since last year itself, a low number of applications against these reserved seats has been a consistent problem.
More than five months into the current academic session, 5,647 of these seats still remain vacant due to lack of applications.
As a result, the DoE called for a fresh round of applications on September 9.
However, it received only 44 applications — up to 0.7% of the vacancies.
The date for applications has again been extended to October 3, in the hope of attracting more applications.
The primary reason for the low number of applications is the lack of physical and teaching-learning infrastructure suitable for children with special needs in city schools, despite directives from the High Court, Delhi government and provisions of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, that all schools move towards inclusive education.
A day after the DoE called for the last round of applications earlier this month, The Indian Express reported that two special needs children who were allotted seats at Delhi Public School, Dwarka, but the school said their current infrastructure did not make admitting them “feasible”.
Disability rights activist Dr Satender Singh said, “Given the lack of inclusive and accessible infrastructure and tools in schools, parents will prefer to send their children to specialised schools for children with disabilites.”
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