For as many as 230 bed-ridden special children who have opted for home-based education under the RTE Act, UT education department has been managing with 24 resource teachers, against the rule which says that one teacher should be available for every five ‘special’ students.
These 24 teachers have additional responsibilities which go beyond special children they tend to.
They are also special educators for 110 government schools and look after five resource centres comprising of a cluster of 22 government schools each.
The UT education department says that there is no available budget to appoint voluntary teachers at present since the Centre had withdrawn the funds few months ago.
Of 230 special children under the home-based education category, 134 are boys and 96 are girls.
A majority of them are suffering from sensory impairments, mental retardation, cerebral palsy and multiple disabilities. 50% of them are profound cases.
TEACHERS EXHAUSTED WITH WORK
One of the resource teachers on the condition of anonymity said, “We are not only covering home based education, we are looking after all special children who are enrolled in our school, which is why, it becomes difficult to regularly attend to children at their homes.”
Echoing the same opinion on the problems faced by resource teachers, another teacher said,
“We lose the link with a child because we get to meet him/her only after a period of two weeks, since we have to cover other children as well.
Ideally, there should be adequate teachers who can spend time with special children and can easily track their weekly improvements.”
Rajni Kapoor, one of the teachers who takes care of a resource centre at Government Model High School, Sector 28 said it is not a difficult task to deal with special students but their families who expect their children will be fine in a day or two.
“After we counsel parents regarding daily skills and various therapies their children require, the first question from the parents is, ‘Will our child start walking’? We face strange situations where we cannot say that there is no treatment for their child and we cannot assure them that their child will be fine.”
However, commenting on the issue of lack of requisite number of teachers for special children, officials said the education department does not have the requisite budgets to appoint voluntary teachers for special kids, as the centre provides an annual budget of `1 crore for the appointment of 25 resource teachers.
FUNDS WITHDRAWN BY CENRE: OFFICIALS
The education department officials added the Centre had withdrawn budgets for voluntary teachers on March 31.
They said earlier there were 20 inclusive education volunteers who were working with children with special needs.