Not a single fresh admission this year at the only government school for blind girls in Kerala

The Government Higher Secondary School for Blind Girls in Trichy is the only one of its kind in the entire state of Kerala.

Yet, the school has not had a single fresh admission in any class for the upcoming academic year. Officials and the school staff are upset about this.

While some see it as a positive indication that shows the falling number of children with blindness, health department officials and ophthalmologists say there is no concrete evidence to prove it.

In the previous years too, the number of fresh admissions has not been very high. Only 15 new students were admitted during 2017-18, and a little over 20 during 2016-17.

The principal of the school received just two inquiries from parents regarding a possible admission for their children this year. With the schools across Kerala set to reopen on 1 June, officials and the teaching staff are worried.

Some of the reasons for the fall may be a preference for private schools over government schools, reluctance among parents to admit their children to a so-called special school, and lack of awareness about schemes offered for partly blind and blind students.

Many parents also do not want to accept the fact that their child is partly blind or blind and that the condition might worsen with age, say experts. Parents tend to admit their children to regular schools when their eyesight is relatively better. They later switch them to special schools when the vision worsens. However, this makes students struggle with academics.

Experts say that only when students are admitted to blind schools at an early age, will they get practice with the Braille system.

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