21.6% of children with disabilities don’t have access to education in Karnataka

The N for Nose report also lists 10 recommendations to the Government of India to be implemented for ensuring inclusive education of children with disabilities.

Published: 12th December 2019 06:07 AM  |   Last Updated: 12th December 2019 06:07 AM   |  A+A-

By Express News Service

BENGALURU: There are 3.30 lakh children between the ages 5 and 19 with disabilities in the state. Of them, 21.6% have never received education and 15.5% attended educational institutions previously but later dropped out. These are the findings of  UNESCO’s State of the Education Report for India-2019 — Children with Disabilities, which was released in Bengaluru on Wednesday.

“The illiteracy rate among children with disabilities remains at 60%, which is an alarming 16% higher than the state average of all illiterate children (as per the 2011 Census),” said Eric Falt, Director, UNESCO,
New Delhi.

Speaking at the launch, Minister for Primary and Secondary Education Suresh Kumar said,  “We should call them special children and not children with disabilities. The state’s policy for education of children with special needs will be fully implemented and efforts will be made to include those left out.”

The N for Nose report also lists 10 recommendations to the Government of India to be implemented for ensuring inclusive education of children with disabilities. The report was prepared by UNESCO in coordination with government departments, CBM India Trust, Seva In Action and several other NGOs. 

Citing data from the Ministry of Human Resources Development, the report said, “In Karnataka, data from 52 schools had discrepancies regarding disabled-friendly toilets, 58 schools regarding functional disabled-friendly toilets, 83 schools regarding need for ramps, 68 regarding ramp availability, 88 regarding handrail availability.”

The report also pointed out that there is a lack of funds from the Centre. The number of School Readiness Programme Centres (SRPCs), started in 2012-2013 in Karnataka, had dropped along with number of human resources for these centres. The SRPCs were started to train children with intellectual impairment for successful inclusion in mainstream schools, especially in areas where home-based education was high. The programme included volunteers, special educators and physiotherapists.

“Due to shortage of central funds, the number of volunteers for home-based education dropped. The number of SRPCs too dropped to one per block. Now, they function twice a week with four block-inclusive education resource teachers per block. This is highly inadequate,” the report says.

Under the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities, District Disability Rehabilitation Centres (DDRCs) were to be set up in all districts. These offer early intervention, therapeutic services, counselling and support for children with disabilities. “There are eight DDRCs in Karnataka at Ballari, Belgaum, Mandya, Tumakur, Kalaburagi, Mandya, Bidar and Kolar,” the report stated, calling it a financial non-starter due to lack of allocation of funds.

The report also stated that Gujarat, Karnataka, Kerala and Maharashtra have gender gaps at both secondary and higher secondary levels.



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