R Sudhamony of Kalakkodu, Poothakkulam, in Kollam district, who had been fighting for the rights of children with disabilities and mother of a mentally challenged boy, said that children with special needs were entitled to study in any government or management school near their house as per the Persons with Disability Act of 1995. Such children are entitled to get the service of Inclusive Education (IED) teachers from Classes I to VIII from the Sarva Siksha Abhiyan (SSA).
For Classes IX to XII, it is the duty of the Director of Public Instruction (DPI) to engage teachers from the District Institute of Education and Training (DIET). Sudhamony said that the government was unsympathetic and insensitive towards her requests to post resource teachers to teach children with special needs.
She said her son R S Manidas, a Class IX student of Govt Higher Secondary School, Poothakkulam, and other students were denied the facility this year so far. Following her request to the State Director, IED, in October 2014, a resource teacher was made available for two days a week. But in November itself, the teacher was transferred, leaving the children with no help during the Christmas examination.
Moreover, all the IED teachers appointed in the 16 High Schools in Kollam district in February 2014 were
transferred to Thiruvananthapuram district, considering the convenience of the teachers.
“In Thiruvananthapuram district, there are 103 IED teachers. Some of them are working in schools where there are no children with special needs. But the state director of the IED said that teachers from T’Puram district were finding it difficult to work in Kollam. I submitted a request to Education Minister
P K Abdu Rabb on December 15 but it didn’t yield any result,” Sudhamony said.
It might be noted that the government had already taken a decision to give aided school status to private special schools which admit 50 children with special needs.
Meanwhile, the government had been flouting the provisions of the Central Act by not appointing teachers for children with special needs in government schools. While these children can get free education in government schools, they have to pay Rs 800 and above per month in the private schools. Sudhamony said that already the parents of children with special needs were finding it difficult to meet the expenses of treatment for the children. They cannot afford to send their children to private schools by paying hefty tuition and boarding fee.