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Quality teachers are needed `to ensure education for disabled'

Staff Reporter

Biggest weakness is that educators are not motivated, says official


  • Percentage of children with special needs could be higher than that in Census
  • Barrier-free environment should be created for the child

    CHENNAI: The way to ensure inclusive education for disabled (IED) children is to have quality teachers, speakers at a workshop on IED asserted here on Wednesday.

    Joint Secretary of Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) K. Desiraju said: "Our biggest weakness is the quality of teachers who attend the B. Ed courses. They are people who are not motivated ... We need to upgrade the teacher quality."

    About 67,000 teachers in Tamil Nadu trained last year, said T.K. Ramachandran, State Project Director of Tamil Nadu.

    Special needs

    Not only was it important for special teachers to be trained on cross disabilities (for example a teacher should be trained to handle children with hearing impairment and a child with dyslexia), mainstream teachers should also attend training to teach children with special needs.

    The workshop is titled `Continuing the Dialogue: Embracing a More Expansive Understanding of Inclusive Education' and is being attended by State project directors (Sarva Siksha Abhyan) or their representatives from different States who will be presenting their implementation of IED over the three-day event.

    Though Sarva Siksha Abhyan (SSA) aims at education for all, this will not become a reality if children with disabilities are left out of the education system. The idea behind the workshop is to share experiences and critique what each state has done.

    Director, Elementary Education, (MHRD), Amit Kaushik said: "The Census has identified that 3-5 per cent of the total population of the country have been identified as children with special needs. But a survey by SSA has identified only 1 percent as children with disabilities."

    He said this was disconcerting as the census goes according to the Disabilities Act.

    " But with SSA, a child should be included regardless of the degree of his disability. So the percentage should be higher."

    Survey

    Mr. Desiraju too stressed on a more accurate survey.

    "Once the child is identified as disabled, he should not only be able to go to school but stay in school to get an education," he said.

    "A barrier-free environment is needed to ensure every child has access to a school, and once there, they should be educated. It all came back to the teachers.

    Secretary of School Education, Tamil Nadu, Girija Vaidyanathan said, "We have to change the knowledge, attitude and practice of teachers. Teachers need to be educated, trained and facilitated."

    State strategy

    In Tamil Nadu, IED is being implemented by 40 NGOs. All 385 development blocks and 27 urban blocks in the state are covered under it.

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