Teachers prejudiced against disabled kids, says Indian Statistical Institute study
Jayanta Gupta, TNN Oct 1, 2013, 04.35AM IST
KOLKATA: A study conducted among teachers in government- and government-aided schools in the city has revealed that most of them are prejudiced against pupils with disabilities.
According to the study, conducted by the Psychology Research Unit of the Indian Statistical Institute (ISI), a large number of teachers believe that children with disabilities are "careless", "insincere", "doubtful" and "rigid". So much for the government's initiative to promote inclusive education. A study conducted by the Psychology Research Unit of Indian Statistical Institute (ISI) in government and government-aided schools in Kolkata has revealed that a large number of teachers consider differently-abled children to be careless, insincere, doubtful and rigid.
The same teachers believe that children without special needs are "systematic", "confident", "sincere" and "responsive".
The research paper was presented at the Indian Science Congress with a view to impress upon the state government that our schools may still not be ready for inclusive education, which the government is trying to promote.
The study revealed some startling facts. "The most negative attitude towards children with disabililies was expressed by young teachers; those with postgraduate degrees; and those from high socio-economic backgrounds. Many of those who held this attitude have people with disabilities at home," said Sumana Dutta, a research scholar at ISI .
The institute collaborated with Bikashayan, an NGO, in carrying out the study.
To gauge the attitude of 1,472 teachers in Kolkata, researchers used what is known as a semantic differential scale. "In a semantic differential scale, respondents are asked to choose where his or her position lies, on a scale between two bipolar adjectives. This scale is used to measure opinions, attitudes and values," explained Dr Debdulal Dutta Roy, assistant professor of the Psychology Research Unit. In this case, some of the pairs of bipolar adjectives used were "careless and systematic", "insincere and sincere", "doubtful and confident" and "rigid and responsive". The questionnaire with 20 such bipolar adjectives was filled in by teachers, parents and administrative staff.
A complex statistical method known as "Principal Component Analysis with Varimax Rotation" was used to arrive at the results.
"We surveyed 1,829 people in all. While 1,472 were teachers, there were 262 parents and the remaining administrative staff. We noticed that the teachers had the most negative attitude. Teachers from north Kolkata had the worst attitude followed by those in the south and west," Dutta added.
According to Dutta Roy, who monitored the process, it was a surprise that some teachers who have children with disabilities also display this attitude. "This reveals that the teachers are not considering the limitations of a child with disabilities," said the executive council member of the International Association for Analytical Psychology. "The second part of the study revealed that most schools (government- and government-aided) don't have the infrastructure required for inclusive education. There is clearly a need for remedial teaching and psycho-educational teaching if inclusive education has to be successful. Maybe the teachers will need more training. For the moment, though, special schools can't be done away with."
In the second part of the survey, 293 schools were surveyed. It was found that 42% of these schools don't have their own drinking water facility. Resource rooms - remedial classrooms where students with special needs are given specialized assistanceare - absent in 95% of these schools. It was also found that 98% schools have no resource teachers.
"Though 98% schools consider a resource person beneficial, in more than 44% schools, such teachers pay just a single visit in a month. In 53% schools, the visit is just for an hour. More than 85% schools have untrained teachers. If there is a problem, how will these teachers react? The problem lies with the non-manipulative nature of our pedagogy. Things will have to be more manipulative if children are to receive proper education," Dutta Roy added.
Source: Times of India