Hyderabad schools strictly warned not to deny admission to children with disabilities
The Department of Women Development and Child Welfare (WDCW) has instructed schools in Hyderabad to not deny admissions to disabled children for this academic year. How effective this will be will be known in the coming academic term.
The new academic year is all set to begin and parents and students are gearing up for another year of assignments, exams and academics. Many students with disabilities, however, are yet to get admission.
In a welcome move, the Department of Women Development and Child Welfare (WDCW) in Hyderabad has strictly instructed all schools to not deny admissions to children with disabilities. This is because disabled children are still struggling to get admissions.
This is despite the RPWD Act 2016 clearly stating that children with disabilities have the equal right to an education. It says that a quota must be kept aside for school admission for children with physical and intellectual disabilities. The reality, say parents, is rather different. Many schools tell them the seats are filled. The other barrier is lack of accessibility on school premises.
Pallavi Durvasulu is a case in point. Her seven year old son, who has autism, had to drop out of school after two years.
My son was in a regular school for two years, but teachers couldn't manage him. Schools that have an integrated system are not up to the mark. I have come across many parents who face similar problems. I agree there are many laws for promoting education amongst children with disabilities but teachers do not take an effort to know the problems of the child. Some schools even say it is expensive to teach a disabled child.- Pallavi Durvasulu, Parent of child with autism
According to a study done by the United Nations, 34% of school children with disabilities in India have dropped out of schools. The dropout rates are highest among children with multiple disabilities, intellectual disabilities and speech impairment. Lack of sensitisation about disabilities among teachers and school management does not help either.
Not all parents can afford shadow teachers and special educators, which are the next best option, points out Himabindu Gattu from Abhilasha Research Centre for Children with Special Needs.
"Shadow teachers and special educators are a great alternative but parents must be willing to pay a lot of money for that", she says.
The WDCW has put forward a great initiative for sure and it comes at the right time just before the start of the new academic year. How it will be implemented will be closely watched.