KOCHI: Parents of Children With Special Needs (CWSN) are opting for alternative modes of education as many of them feel that regular schools do not have enough resources to accommodate such children.
The Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA), in its report on the State’s education scenario, has identified 1,78,201 such children. It pointed out that the training provided to resource teachers (RT) did not meet their needs, thereby failing to adhere to the the inclusive education policy of the SSA. The recent trend is more or less in lines with the SSA’s observations. “Though there are RTs and facilities for ‘special’ children they do not cater to all the needs of such children. My daughter requires one person with her all the time, and we thought that enrolling her in an open school would be the best option for her. Also, in the National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS), unlike in the regular schools, she can pass five papers in five years. This is a convenient option,” said Anitha Venugopal, mother of Archana, who is pursuing her twelfth standard under the NIOS.
The report pointed out that the resource teachers received various types of training for working with CWSN.
However, what the SSA has learned is that the training does not always cater to the needs of the teachers. Quoting a resource teacher from Wayanad, the SSA report said what while training on learning disability and autism was needed urgently, the teachers do not know whether or when such training would be imparted.
At the district level, there were plans to train 40 teachers on braille, but only 4 blind children were identified. The officials concerned said such discrepancies were a result of the practice of selecting RTs for training on the basis of quota, rather than requirement. “Almost all of them enrol in open schools and choose what they want to study, and when they want to write the exam. Convenience is what they look for when they choose an alternate system of education,” said NIOS regional director V S Raveendran.