Saturday, March 30, 2013

Education for children with special needs gets a fillip

Education for children with special needs gets a fillip

Published: Wednesday, Jun 27, 2012, 11:54 IST
By Aishhwariya Subramanian | Place: Bangalore | Agency: DNA

Taking a step towards making inclusive education more holistic, the state will be appointing about 2,500 special education teachers in a bid to integrate children with special needs (CWSN) into mainstream schools.
“We already have a system of home-based education where volunteers have been working with such children. But they are only volunteers and are not special needs educators. So, through a three-year process, we will be shifting the focus from home-based education to school education. For that, we will be appointing teachers who are qualified,” says Tushar Girinath, state project director, Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA).
The three-year process will have the special needs educators working with children for the first year, continuing with the home-based education system. The second year will have them training and preparing the students for mainstream schools. In the third year, the students will be admitted to mainstream schools.
“These educators will work on six-day-a-week schedule, where they will work with the children for two days. During the rest of the days, they will track the progress of the students who have reached the level of mainstream education.
They will ensure they don’t fall through the cracks,” he adds. According to Giri Nath, about 105 special needs educators will be appointed at the block level in the state, which amounts to around 2,500 special needs educators overall.
NGOs chip in
The SSA website’s statistics for the year 2009-2010 show that there are 1.35 lakh CWSN in the state, about 1.77% of the total children population. This number, according to Girinath, has increased a bit and the state will be taking the help of NGOs to reach out to the CWSN children.
“The latest numbers stand at 1.48 lakh children who have special needs. Through NGOs, there will be a manpower search to determine where these children are, how many there are and how they can be catered to,” he says. Apart from appointing special needs educators, Girinath says that for the first time in the state, two clinical psychologists and physiotherapists will be appointed.

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