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Official lists State's schemes for persons with disability

Staff Reporter

An exclusive administration department has been formed: S.S. Jawahar

— PHOTO: S.SIVA SARAVANAN

S.S. Jawahar, Secretary, Department for the Welfare of the Differently Abled Persons, addressing a meeting at Avinashilingam Deemed University for Women in Coimbatore on Wednesday.

COIMBATORE: To ensure that the rights of persons with disability are protected and they receive equal opportunities, the State government has earmarked a budget outlay of Rs.222 crore in 2010-11, S.S. Jawahar, Secretary, Department for the Welfare of the Differently Abled Persons, Government of Tamil Nadu, said here on Wednesday.

He was inaugurating the All India Course Co-ordinators' Meet 2010 of B.Ed. and M.Ed. Special Education at Avinashilingam Deemed University for Women. The meet was jointly organised by the university and Rehabilitation Council of India.

“The organisational structure for differently abled has been streamlined in the State. For the first time in the country, an exclusive administration department has been formed for them. Each of the 32 districts of the State has a District Differently Abled Officer. Their cadre has been upgraded to that of a Deputy Collector,” Mr. Jawahar said.

The State Disability Policy has been revised and made Differently Abled Persons Policy (Tamil Nadu Government) 2010. Also, a new census for persons with disability was under way. There were 165 special schools for persons with disability and 185 centres for the mentally challenged, Mr. Jawahar added.

“By 2020 nearly 50 million of the youth in the world will be from India. This will include the differently abled too. If we develop our education and health systems, we can place this 50 million in the first 50 million of the world,” he said.

More institutions offering courses

S.K. Mishra, Deputy Director (Academic), Rehabilitation Council of India, said that in 1992 there were only 25 institutions offering 16 courses in special education and rehabilitation.

“Now, there are 385 institutions offering nearly 750 courses. There are at least 15,000 persons getting trained annually in special education. This is besides those getting qualified in the 11 open universities that are offering courses in the distance education mode. Now, there is a pool of 50,000 special educators,” Mr. Mishra said.

Nevertheless, it was not enough to meet the demand forecast by the Institute of Applied Manpower Research for 2011. The institute had estimated the requirement of special teachers to the tune of more than two lakh.

He called for bridging the gap between the demand and supply.

Recognising their abilities

M.N.G. Mani, Secretary General, International Council for Education of People with Visual Impairment, said the best way to bring persons with disability into the mainstream was by recognising their abilities.

He lamented that though the Government of India records showed that over 30 lakh special children were enrolled in schools, they were not all structured schools.

T.S.K. Meenakshi Sundaram, Chancellor, Sheela Ramachandran, Vice-Chancellor, and Premavathy Vijayan, Head, Special Education, Avinashilingam Deemed University for Women, spoke.

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