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Monday, May 21, 2012

When the Parliament united to discuss children with special needs -unique moment

Tarun Vijay: Children with special needs are getting raw deal

    Monday, May 21, 2012 - 17:30
By Punjab Newsline
NEW DELHI: A unique day was it for the children with special needs as the entire Rajya Sabha decided to keep the political issues at bay for a ten minute discussion on the status of education for such children.
After a lot of chaos and adjourning House twice, the Dy. Chairman , Rajya Sabha asked if the issue for children with special needs can be taken up, and the house unanimously said-Yes. It was a short notice question by Tarun Vijay, BJP MP which was almost drowned in the din of warring BSP and SP leaders but ultimately House showed a greater sensitivity towards children and stood attentive.
Speaking on the issue Mr. Tarun Vijay, MP said that children with special needs are getting raw deal as no state government is implementing the Disabilities Act 1995 fully  and there is a dearth of special educators making such children orphaned, In J&K , where the Act is not implemented, even the visually challenged do not get permission to write in Braille. 90 % of children with special needs are out of school, and their mapping too is not done properly, so while govt says the number of such children is app 2 crores, World Bank report puts it to app 6 crores.
It means 5.5 crore children are not getting school education because schools do not admit them, there are no teachers for them, inclusive education is still avoided and specially enabled become a social stigma for their family because of lack of sensitivity in the society. We are a cruel society to such children, Vijay said. Demanding HRD Minister Mr. Kapil Sibal to take immediate corrective measures. He said still govt institutions use words like Mentally Retarded for such children with special needs. In fact mentally retarded are those who indulge in corruption and incite violence and not these children, Vijay said.
He thanked PM Manmohan Singh and Minister Kapil Sibal for including Children with Special Needs in the ambit of Socially Disadvantaged Sections in the Right to Education Bill. This has helped millions of children, Vijay said. Still dearth of special teachers in inclusive stream and denial by schools to admit such children remains a big problem.
Tarun Vijay said that the Ministry of social Justice is implementing exclusive special schools scheme while HRD is rightly favouring inclusive schooling system for children with special needs. This contradictory approach is creating more difficulties for such children. Citing examples of Delhi and Uttarakhand, where some of the best schools and educational institutions are situated. Vijay said that in these states none of the schools have proper , facilities for special need children , as mandated by law. There is no implementation of the Disability Act and none monitors their progress,, leaving  the parents of such children run from pillar to post and keep kids secluded and isolated in homes, which makes the life for them more miserable.
Mr. Kapil Sibal agreed that there is a lot to be done to ensure state govts implement the Disabilities Act, He said that central govt. favours inclusive education system and doesn't favour segregation of such children. He said that since the inception of Sarva Siksha Abhiyan (SSA) 30,47,399 Children With Special Needs (CWSN) have been Identified, out of which 26,62,746 have been enrolled in schools. 20,077 resource teachers and resource persons have been appointed and 24,315 volunteers provide support to severe and profound CWSN.  Aids & appliances have been provided to 24,05,393 CWSN and Braille books to 26,898 visually impaired children.  Further, 7,51,550 schools have been made barrier free.
He said that 25.71 lakh teachers have been oriented on inclusive education for CWSN in the in-service teachers' training since 2003-04.  22.48 lakh teachers with CWSN in their classrooms have been given disability specific training and 1.27 lakh teachers have undergone the RCI recognised 90 days Foundation Course on inclusive education of CWSN.
He said that  100% Centrally assisted Scheme provides inter alia for student oriented components, engagement and training of special teachers, barrier free schools, resource rooms, development of teaching and learning materials, strengthening of training institutes, orientation and awareness.  Over 4 lakh CWSN have been approved for assistance since implementation of Scheme in April 2009.
Punjab Newsline Network

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