Shikha Sharma : New Delhi, Thu Sep 05 2013,
It has been four months since she went to school. Every time the 11-year-old turns up at her municipal school in Nehru Park, the principal sends her back, saying the school doesn't have special educators to teach her. The 11-year-old is a challenged child.
But she isn't the only one forced to stay at home because of a lack of specialist teachers. Her's is the story of more than 18,000 differently abled children studying in the city's many government and municipal schools, who, in the absence of special education teachers, are either not allowed to enter the schools or refused admission.
A report submitted by the Education department in the Delhi Assembly identified 18,000 such kids in 2009. The number of teachers qualified to teach these students, though, stands at only 62.
Around 250 teachers hired on contract under the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyaan (SSA) were teaching in the city's many schools until May. But their contracts were not renewed once they expired. "So barring the 62 teachers engaged by the government recently, there are no teachers in both MCD and government schools now," said S C Bimal, component coordinator (special education), SSA.
In September 2009, the High Court, noting the serious paucity of special educators, directed the government and local bodies to ensure each school had at least two special educators within six months.
Following the order, the Delhi government created 927 permanent teacher posts in Directorate of Education (DoE) schools and 1,610 in MCD schools through the Delhi Subordinate State Services Board (DSSSB). But little seems to have come of it.
"For the 927 posts, 450 teachers were called for counselling and we are expecting some to join soon. With 62 guest teachers already working, the situation will improve as the second round of recruiting guest teachers and fresh recruitment of contract teachers is underway," said Amit Singla, Director, DoE.
"We have created 695 posts for special educators. As soon as the DSSSB recruits for these posts, we will fill them up," said Mukesh Yadav, PRO, South Delhi Municipal Corporation. Only nine out of 8,789 teachers shortlisted by DSSSB, though, have qualified for the job.
The quality of education, also, stands to question. "Where the Rehabilitation Council of India prescribes one teacher for every eight differently abled children, most teachers appointed on contract are given 20 schools to handle. Principals in most MCD schools refuse to admit children with disabilities. In some cases, we see a child only once a month. We may call them children with special needs but the truth is, they are the most ignored," said Ramgopal, a special educator working on contract.
Source: Indian Express