KOCHI: Life is never easy for those with disabilities. Even if the children manage to get an education, many find it difficult to secure a job.
The situation is especially very bad in the case of those with 100 per cent disabilities. The question 'What next after school education?' has always been looming large once the children pass out. This question becomes even more pointed in the case of special needs children.
As an answer to this question, the Samagra Shiksha Kerala (SSK) launched a vocational rehabilitation programme 'Esteem' under the 2020-2021 'Strengthening Teaching- Learning And Results for States' (STARS) initiative.
"This pilot programme, which is the first of its kind in the state, has been designed for the hearing impaired and visually challenged children. However, in the coming years’ other special needs children too will be included," said an official with SSK.
According to him, this is a residential programme based in Kozhikode. "However, this is a state-wide programme in which 30 students from all over Kerala participated and attended classes that were conducted by the experts," he said.
Of these 30 students, 15 belonged to the hearing impaired category and the remaining were visually challenged. "We even have four students who are 100 per cent visually impaired. But by the end of the programme, the students and the parents were of the opinion that the training made them realise their self-worth and hence, confidence in going ahead in life," he added.
"Under this initiative, SSK selected two courses prescribed under the National Skills Qualifications Framework (NSQF)," said an SSK teacher. She said that the hearing impaired students were trained in Field Technician - Computing and Peripherals while the visually impaired children were given training as Domestic Data Entry Operators.
She said the very first step in the initiative was to select a training centre. "We zeroed in on Calicut Higher Secondary School for the Handicapped, which had all the necessary facilities to provide the students technical training," she said.
The teacher said SSK spent Rs 13 lakh for the programme. "This included even the Sundays," she said. Besides, being given training in the courses, the students also got to interact with the bigwigs from IT firms and Eureka Forbes.
"The classroom and laboratory experiences were boosted with on-job training for five days. Those doing the Field Technician course got trained at Keltron Knowledge Centre while the students learning Domestic Data Entry Operator were trained at Akshaya Centre," she said.
According to her, SSK aims to get all the 30 students placed with various firms.