Over 3/4th special educator posts in Delhi MCD schools vacant, HC told
Over 75% posts of special educators — who cater to students with disabilities — are lying vacant in schools run by the Capital’s three civic bodies, according to an affidavit the South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) submitted in the high court on Friday.
The SDMC — a nodal agency for the recruitment of teachers in the three civic bodies — submitted that 1,192 special educator posts, of the 1,540 notified, in civic body schools are vacant.
The affidavit was submitted in response to a contempt petition filed by advocate Ashok Agarwal of NGO Social Jurist against the civic bodies and others for not filling up the vacant posts.
“After the last hearing, the SDMC had sent requests to the other municipal corporations in order to calculate the amount of vacancies available in the post... it has come to light that there are 1,192 (239 are in east MCD, 561 in north MCD and 392 in south MCD) vacancies to be filled in the post of special educator (primary) in the municipal corporation schools,” the affidavit stated.
The north, east and south corporations run 712, 399, and 592 schools respectively for children up to class 5, all of which cater to around 600,000 students. Of these, around 3,500 are students with disabilities.
Officials at several schools run by the civic bodies said they have been struggling in the absence of special educators.
“The situation has become even more difficult during the Covid-19 lockdown when schools are closed and classes have been shifted online. We can’t expect children with disabilities to study using WhatsApp links and YouTube videos... They need attention, and a regular special educator is required to call them and engage them for some hours every day till schools reopen,” a principal of an east MCD school said.
Similarly, principals in schools run by the south and north MCDs said they are facing issues due to the unavailability of an adequate number of special educators.
The principal of a south MCD school said, “We do not have any special educator at present, due to which we have to seek help from other schools to help children with disabilities enrolled with us. The contract of the guest teacher who was teaching these children at our school till last March, has also not been renewed as of now.”
Alka Shama, additional east MCD commissioner said, “We have already sent the requisition for the vacancies of special educators to the Delhi Subordinate Services Selection Board (DSSSB). Presently, we have around 70 special educators and we have divided them into the groups according to the need of students. They have been in regular touch of all students with special needs during the lockdown,” she said.
The DSSSB conducts recruitment exams for government or civic body run schools in Delhi.
The chairperson of the south civic body’s education committee Mukesh Suryan said the contract of all guest special educators will be resumed soon.
“We have also sent our requisition for the vacant posts to the DSSSB. We are regularly sending study material to children with special needs and our teachers are also in regular touch with their parents,” he said.
A north MCD official, who asked not to be named, said the civic agency has also sent their requisition for the vacant posts to the board. “We also conduct regular training for our other teachers and principals in handling children with special abilities.”
Agarwal said the posts of special educators were first created both in MCD and government-run schools in 2011 after a high court order. “It is very sad that till date the posts have not been filled up in civic bodies run schools. Hiring guest teachers or sharing teachers is against the nature of the court’s judgement,” he said.