Half of the children with special needs out of school: UP tells centre
Almost half of the total number of children with special needs (CwSN) do not go to schools in Uttar Pradesh (UP), as per a report sent by UP to the union education ministry.
As per the report, 2,63,984 CwSN in the 3-18 years age group are out of school in the state. Against total estimated number of 5,32,040 CwSN, only 2,68,055 (amounting to 49.62%) are currently enrolled in government-run and aided schools of UP.
These findings were discussed during the last meeting of the Project Approval Board (PAB) of Samgara Shiksha Abhiyan held in New Delhi. Minutes of that meeting have been confirmed just recently.
As per report, inclusive education for Divyang (specially abled) children was being ensured through ‘Samarth’ program. More than 3.15 lakh such students were identified, enrolled and tracked on ‘Samarth’ tech system.
“Aids/appliances have also been distributed to CwSN children through camps and 2.2k special educators are regularly tracking the learning outcomes and attendance of students till Class 8 through more than 1.3 lakh nodal teachers,” said senior education department officials aware of the contents of the report.
Individual Education Plans (IEP) were made by nodal teachers and special educators for each child and being tracked online, the report states.
Accessible worksheets and training videos have specially been designed for Divyang children of Classes 1 to 8 even as home-based learning too has been designed for severely disabled students, the report states.
For the 2021-22 academic session, a provision of ₹5.13 crore has been made for the construction of toilets in 540 government-run primary and upper primary schools of the state.
After going through UP government’s report, the centre has suggested that state government should ensure that learning content is accessible to the needs of all CwSN.
“In areas with low internet connectivity, the UP government should deliver the content through radio and TV to reach the remotest location,” is among the suggestions made by the centre.
The centre has said that mother tongue/local language may be used where possible and the state government may tie up with telecom services to increase access by improving connectivity, lowering costs and increasing coverage to mitigate access inequities.
Stressing on assessment of each identified CwSN, the centre has asked that a team should be set up at the block/cluster level for the purpose. “The assessment team will ascertain the extent and type of disability, the child’s ability to develop, nature of support services required, assistive devices required and identifying special training apt for the child,” as per the details of the PAB meeting, a copy of which is with HT.
The UP government has been asked to ensure that no child, including CwSN, should be left behind in terms of textbooks, enrolment, learning resources and learning guidance.
Noted academician and former vice-chancellor of Uttar Pradesh Rajarshi Tandon Open University (UPRTOU) Prof MP Dube said that more efforts were required to ensure that children with disabilities get education.
“There is a shortage of special educators and special schools in UP as schools like State Deaf and Dumb School (Sanket) running in Lucknow, Agra, Bareilly, Farrukhabad and Gorakhpur or Government School for Visually Impaired girls/ boys (Sparsh) in Lucknow, Gorakhpur, Banda, Saharanpur and Meerut or State School for Mentally Challenged boys/girls (Mamta) in Lucknow and Prayagraj along with State School for physically disabled children (Prayas) in Lucknow and Pratapgarh are limited both in terms of their numbers and capacity,” he said. He suggested budgetary push for education to CWsN.